Prospects And Fiscal Future Of The Community Water And Sanitation Agency (CWSA)
Responding to the question on how the Agency has been able to fund the provision of water and sanitation facilities as well as its operations for the past 20 years, Mr. Evans Asare, Director of Finance at the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) disclosed that CWSA just like any other public organization goes through annual budgeting process for resource allocation by the Government of Ghana where a budget is prepared and submitted to parliament through the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) for approval to implement its activities.
One of the major financial challenges the CWSA is facing under the Reform is payment of huge electricity bills that have been accumulated by the Water and Sanitation Management Teams (WSMTs) before the take-over of the management of the water systems by the CWSA. This situation no doubt has impacted heavily on the operations of water systems. When asked how the Agency was dealing with the payment of these electricity bill to sustain operations of the water systems, Mr Asare explained that the Agency has resorted to the installation of more solar systems to complement the use of electricity from ECG as and when funds are available as a measure to ensure electricity bills are reduced.
When asked, what improved strategies are being used in order to overcome revenue losses and to enhance revenue collection for the improvement of the finances of CWSA under the reforms, the Director of Finance stated that revenue losses come in various forms, namely;
- Inability to meter all customers to pay for the actual volume of water consumed to prevent fixed charges or flat rates that may be far lower than the consumption for the period.
- Burst pipe lines and water reservoirs resulting in leakage of water
- Illegal connections by customers
To overcome this challenge, Mr. Asare indicated that, the Agency has procured and installed several meters to ensure that customers are billed exactly what they have consumed.
Again, the Agency is replacing most of the old and broken down pipes as well as rehabilitating water reservoirs to reduce leakages. In addition to this, CWSA is in corroboration with KNUST to research into robotics technology that can detect and locate leakages in the water systems to enable Management address wastage timely. Also a lot of monitoring is being done to uncover illegal connections so that culprits are prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.
When Mr. Evans Asare was asked to describe the fiscal future of the CWSA taking into consideration the current financial performance of the Agency, and whether it is possible that the Agency can wean itself off government subvention in the near future, he explained that before the Reforms, CWSA never generated a dime from sale of water from the water systems as Internally Generated Funds (IGF).