Water company cuts water supply to KNUST, K-Poly and Prisons

Water supply to three public institutions in the Ashanti Region has been cut as the Ghana Water Company gets tough on consumers who have failed to pay up their bills. 

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi Polytechnic and the Kumasi Central Prisons Quarters will have no water until they settle their bills.

Officials of the utility provider say consumers fail to pay for about 25 percent of the water they use putting a strain on the finances of the company.

Checks reveal the Ghana Water Company Ltd. (GWCL) is unable to break even due to high production and maintenance cost.

The company spends averagely 4.6 million cedis on chemicals and 1.47 million Ghana cedis on electricity and 804, 000 cedis on maintenance every month.

The Kumasi Polytechnic, KNUST, and the Central Prisons Quarters at Aboabo, Akwatia Line and Dichemso together owe the water company GHC7,283000.

KNUST alone accounts for six million cedis out of the total amount.

Whilst the Kumasi Polytechnic owes a total of ₵456, 777.40, Prisons Quarters at Aboabo, Akwatia Line and Dichemso owes ₵292,000; 367,000 and ₵167,000 respectively.

Officials of Ghana Water Company say persistent calls on defaulting institutions including holding several meetings with them to pay the accumulated bills have fallen on deaf ears for over a year now.

The exercise is seen as one of the surest means to improve on efficiency and revenue mobilisation for the company. The company has also turned its attention to institutions and individual doing illegal connections.

The GWCL is within the next 100 days, beginning April 1, embarking on the exercise to mobilize revenue. It follows a directive by the Ministry of Finance dated February 26, 2014.

A letter signed by Chief Director for the Ministry, Major (retd) M.S. Tara directed that “all MDAs and MMDAs are reminded to take immediate steps to settle their indebtedness to the utility providers and ensure that utilities bills are settled as they become due”.

More public and private facilities are in line for disconnection by the company’s Loss Control and District Task Force teams in the coming weeks.

GWCL Regional Communications Manager, Sampson Ampah, was emphatic that government agencies as well as metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies will not be spared.

“All the institutions that we have disconnected within this week; like the KNUST, the prisons, the Poly, we have served them with letters that were received; followed up with meetings. We have also followed up with demand notices and in all these, we haven’t seen any positive action on [defaulters'] part and that is why this time around, we have gone ahead  to disconnect the services,” Mr. Ampah explained.

Meanwhile, some students at KNUST say the impact of the disconnection is minimal because they fall on alternative sources for their needs.

There are however fears the situation could have dire consequences on academic work if the persists for long.

“We have to go to different hostels to go take our bath,” says a student.

A disturbed male student said the situation is creating an unhygienic environment in the university.

“I don’t get water and it is very, very irritating. We are in a room that uses WCs, you need to bath and it’s so unhygienic,” he said.

Another worried student is surprised authorities have kept mute on the issue as they remain without water for almost three days, forcing some of them to skip their bath.

“For about two-three days now we’ve facing severe water shortage on campus. You can imagine how difficult it is. Sometimes you have to even skip bathing to go to class and it is really uncomfortable,” a troubled female student complained.

Highly-placed sources at the university confirmed that some staff residential facilities have no water as well, adding that authorities are in talks with the water company to resolve the matter.

Story by Ghana/Nhyira Fm/Ohemeng Tawiah

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