Community Water Treatment Facility Project

  • Community Growth
  • Water & Sanitation
  • Ghana
This project is led by Susan Mcgrattan, a Volunteer from Maryland

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The purpose of this project is to bring clean water to a community in northern Ghana, which currently has no sources of potable water. The proposed system will pump water from the nearby river and purify it at a small treatment facility operated by local technicians and managed by the Water and Sanitation Committee. Implementation will be led by the skilled professionals of the local NGO, and community members will provide labor and construct the facility’s main building. The impact of this project will be to ensure water quality and security, prevent water-borne illnesses, promote healthy hygiene behaviors, allow women and children to focus on their livelihoods and education, and empower community management groups.

Clean water access is the unanimous development priority. At an initial needs assessment meeting, this concern vastly outranked all others. Community members are well aware of the contamination in their drinking water and prefer to buy treated water sachets when they can afford it. In addition, complaints are often voiced about the time and energy spent by women and children to fetch water from the river, which hinders their ability to focus on small business and education. Lack of water accessibility also impacts hygiene and agriculture activities throughout the community.

With limited means and a challenging hydrogeological environment, the community has been eager to co-operate with outside organizations in attempts to improve the water situation. They have assisted with all of the failed borehole drillings, petitioned the district assembly for pipeline extensions, and utilized various temporary treatment methods donated by NGOs, including small sand filters and point-of-use chemical packets. A community-wide ODF initiative resulting in household latrine construction was undertaken in the hopes of subsequently receiving clean water access. Social connections with other communities in the district led to the discovery of a small water treatment plant upstream on the Kulda River. Having nearly given up on finding a sustainable solution to their water insecurity, the community was extremely excited by this new option, prompting outreach to the locally-based NGO responsible for the construction of the facility.

Sustainability is inevitably a challenge with a project of this size and will be the primary responsibility of the Water and Sanitation Committee. Operation and maintenance of the facility and treatment system relies on payments made by the community in exchange for water. The committee will carefully monitor the infrastructure, encourage others to contribute to the water fees, and be transparent with the status of the finances. When additional assistance or major repairs are required, the committee needs to communicate with professionals outside the community, such as chemical suppliers, electricity providers, and plumbing repairmen. The NGO has been active for decades and will be available for advice and support when necessary.

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