THE Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has formulated guidelines on water tanker services.
The guidelines are to, among other things, check the quality, safety and reliability of water supplies by tanker services to communities in the country that depend on them.
It covers best practices on filling points for tankers; the personal hygiene of drivers; the registration of tankers by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and their appropriate licensing for performing the service; water quality monitoring and the responsibilities of GWCL and tanker associations, among other things.
The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, launching the guidelines in Accra yesterday, noted that the launch of the document was timely, coming at a time of widespread concerns about the water situation in Accra, Tema and other places in the country.
He said population growth, which had not been equally matched with the water infrastructure in the country, had resulted in deficits in the supplies of water.
While the country is projected to be growing at a rate of 2.5 per cent annually, water infrastructure has grown at 1.0 per cent, leaving a deficit of 1.5 per cent, he pointed out.
Despite the deficit in the water infrastructural system, Alhaji Boniface said the government was on record to have invested the most in the sector, with Parliament having recently also approved a loan of $75 million to boost water supplies to the Accra/Tema metropolitan areas, as well as the Eastern Region.
The minister said high rising architectural structures and illegal connections all contributed to low pressure of water in distribution systems and its lack in some areas.
He said all Ghanaians contributed to the challenges of the scarcity of water and cited how an inspection tour had revealed an illegal connection that was being used to irrigate vegetation.
With the scarcity of water, he said tanker services were vital and congratulated the PURC on the guidelines, while assuring them of the government’s commitment to its compliance.
Giving highlights of the guidelines, Mr N.O. Kotei of the PURC emphasised that PURC was not responsible for pricing water from secondary suppliers such as tankers to the end users.
He said the guidelines were the framework in which to ensure safe and good quality water to consumers and ensure reliability and efficiency of tanker services, which had assumed a prominent role in the water delivery chain in the country.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Abokobi/Madina and deputy ranking member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, Alhaji Ahmadu Sorogho, said it was important for all to collaborate to ensure compliance with the guidelines.
A representative of the Tanker Owners Association, Commander Charles Addo, recommended more filling points to cut down on the cost of transporting water to required areas.
He also requested for a waiver of taxes or a tax concession on tankers. However, the minister, while responding during an open forum, said that would not be possible as it could be abused.
A representative of the Teshie Residents Association, Mr Seth Tagoe, asked for concerted efforts to ensure adherence to the guidelines.
A commissioner of the PURC, Mr Andrew Quayson, who chaired the function, said the introduction of the guidelines was a result of the PURC’s mandate and desire to promote the development of a competitive market in the supply of water by tankers.