A study by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) during November 2018 in the Northern Region has revealed that eight out of about 70 small towns owe the Volta River Authority over GH¢1million as electricity bills.
The study said one of the communities alone owed over GH¢400,000. This is despite the fact that 70 percent of rural dwellers enjoy low electricity tariffs.
Most schools, government agencies and district assemblies, the study added, were also found to be in default.
Northern Regional Director of CWSA, Ing. Gilbert Amoah Ayamgah, disclosed this at a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) conference in Tamale.
It was organised by the University for Development Studies (UDS) and the Desert Research Institute (DRI), a Centre for international water sustainability.
He said most of the communities enjoy power, but refuse to pay for it to enable the VRA generate revenue to enhance its operations.
Some of the communities include Bunkprugu, Bole, Daboya, Fufulso, Wulensi, Tatale, Zabzugu, and Bimbilla; while in Bunkprugu they were chased away by the chief and residents.
Touching on the water system, he said the water system in Bunkprugu for instance is being managed by the chief of the area – who deposits the revenue into a separate account.
He added that the chief said the water system was donated to the community and not government.
“Whereas the L.I. governing water systems indicates that funds generated from projects are public sector funds and should be managed according to the financial administration, this chief drove us away and he manages the water system alone,” he explained.
He alleged that most state institutions like hospitals, government agencies, senior high schools, universities, and other government staff in bungalows owe a lot to the two institutions.
“Those who manage the water system also take advantage of the situation – because they know if they don’t account properly, they will not be disconnected. And so, where they are making revenue it passes somewhere while the bills continue to pile up,” he said.
He said the agency will in February commence a rehabilitation of community water systems in some parts of the region, to enhance domestic potable water supply in Gushegu, chereponi, Saboba and Yapei.