Manpower Needs and Its Cost Implication on the Transfer of “Small Towns Water Supply Systems” Into “Community Ownership and Management”

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The United Nations General Assembly declared 1981 - 1990 as the International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade. The Government of Ghana took up the challenge and initiated the reorganisation of water delivery in the country. Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation were split into two autonomous bodies, with the parent organisation (GWCL) overseeing water supply in the urban centers and Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) overseeing small towns and rural communities. As part of this change, 110 small pipe borne water supply systems presently under GWSC centralised operation are to be transferred to the district assemblies to hold in trust for the communities who will operate and manage them. The operation of these systems at the community level will entail a lot of reorganisation and recruitment of personnel at the community level to take over from the GWSC staff. This study was therefore undertaken to assess the manpower needs of these systems and the cost of operating the systems under Community Ownership and Management (COM). To achieve this objective, data on the existing operational and management set-up with specific reference to the personnel involved were collected and analysed. Data were collected through the administration of questionnaire, interviews and discussions. Samples systems were selected for the study. Results were presented in tabular form and graphs and simple calculations were employed in the analysis of the data. Three different management options were identified under the COM. These are: • The community contracts a private company to operate the system for a fee. • The water board undertakes the management and employ individuals to operate the system • The management and operation of the system are assigned to individual employees. The results of the data analysis revealed that the basic positions required to run any of the system at the community level are security man, water works attendant and water system manager (optional). Also depending on the option adopted, the cost of labour may be equal for virtually all the categories of systems identified. Again, from calculations using data available, water supply under COM would not be affordable if the present GWCL salary scale is maintained. To enhance the success of the transfer of the small water supply systems into Community Ownership and Management, (COM) the following recommendations have been put forward: • The roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders should be made clear to them and be prevail upon to give a commitment of their preparedness to meet these obligations. • ‘CWSA should demonstrate their preparedness to tackle the issue of quality assurance by employing the requisite personnel for the task. • The arrangement for the procurement of water treatment chemicals is still hanging. This issue should be firmly settled before the systems are transferred to the district assemblies. It is hoped that the adoption of these recommendations will improve the capability of the communities to successfully manage the small pipe borne water supply systems to be entrusted to them.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation, 1999