The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has started implementing the President’s directive on free water services for domestic consumption for the next three months.
The company has, consequently, asked all landlords to allow tenants to use water for free from July to September this year.
The Head of Public Relations at the GWCL, Mr Stanley Martey, disclosed this in an interview with Kwame Boakye, the host of Agoo AM Show on Radio Link in Techiman Monday. He urged members of the public and water customers to desist from mounting standpipes or connecting water without recourse to the company.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government absorbed water bills for all citizens between April and June 2020.
The GWCL announced the expiration of the free water intervention at the end of June, with the expectation that consumers would start paying for the utility from July.
However, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, announced, in the Mid-Year Budget Review in Parliament last Thursday, that the government would absorb domestic water bills for citizens again from July to the end of September.
The directive is to support Ghanaians to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Speaking to Radio Link, Mr Martey said the GWCL, through the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, had immediately commenced the programme, “since the period of implementation takes effect with July consumption”.
He explained that all domestic customers of the GWCL on Category 611 would have their bills for July, August and September 2020 absorbed and paid by the government.
“All metered stand-pipes on Category 643 shall be used to serve citizens for free. Vendors are expected to still control the services to the public as usual. This is to ensure the prudent use of water,” he added.
He cautioned members of the public to resist the temptation to illegally connect to water, since the GWCL would deal with any such illegality according to the law.
He called on well-meaning Ghanaians to report all persons engaged in illegal connections, bypasses and all malpractices against the GWCL to the nearest police station or to the district offices for action to be taken against such persons.
In addition, Mr Martey said, customers who were disconnected prior to the President’s announcement of the first phase of free water in April 2020 were still liable “and must pay their arrears to enable them to enjoy the free water”.
He urged customers who had arrears to negotiate “flexible payment terms” with officials of the GWCL at the district and regional offices to enable them to settle their arrears.
“Once this is done, they can be reconnected to enable them to enjoy the free water services,” he said, adding that “these cases will be treated on individual basis”.
He assured the public that water supply tankers and COVID-19 free water tank services were still in operation to serve deprived communities.
He urged consumers in such deprived communities to liaise with their assembly members in order to access the services of the tankers from the GWCL’s district offices.
He urged customers to repair leakages in their homes, including overflowing reservoirs and dripping taps and valves, to ensure judicious use of the resource.
“Citizens must also do well to report all burst pipes and leakages immediately to the nearest GWCL district offices, customer service centres and fault offices to enable the staff of the GWCL to attend to them as early as practicable to avoid waste,” Mr Martey added.