WASHCost Ghana End-of-Project meeting held in Accra.
Updated - Monday 10 December 2012
A National Seminar on Life Cycle Cost Approach (LCCA) for sustainable costing for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) service delivery has been held in Accra under the theme:Costing Sustainable Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Services in Ghana.
The two day meeting on 29th & 30th November 2012, brought together stakeholders from the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Ghana. They discussed issues relating to research activities and findings of the WASHCost project in Ghana over the past five years.
The Director of the Water Directorate at the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing (MWRWH), Frederick Addai, in his opening remarks, reiterated government's commitment to the provision of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services to the populace.
Mr Addai said even though water is important, sanitation is also equally important and must be given the needed attention. “Unfortunately, we have never been able to adequately quantify the amounts of funding being spent on sanitation, and as a result Ghana is not doing very well in sanitation”. He said “Even with water where there has been improved investment we still have deficit”. He stated that it is the responsibility of government and other stakeholders to bring water and sanitation to the doorsteps of everybody because “both water and sanitation are not a privilege to the people but are human rights”.
Mr Fred Addai called on the media to give more prominence to issues on water, sanitation and hygiene to help attract the needed attention from the necessary stakeholders.
WASHCost in Ghana
Dr. Kwabena Nyarko, Country Director of WASHCost Project Ghana made a presentation on activities of WASHCost in Ghana from the national perspective. Dr Nyarko said KNUST, IRC and other WASH stakeholders implemented the WASHCost Project from 2008.
He said the project is an action research that researches the life cycle cost of providing water, sanitation and hygiene services in rural and peri-urban areas. This, he said was done to stimulate the use of cost information to improve governance and decision making at all levels.
An initial study by WASHCost project, on institutional mapping of the WASH sector in Ghana revealed that prior to the WASHCost project,
the use of WASH cost information was limited two main activities, which are the preparation of strategic investment plans and preparation of specific projects. This, he said clearly gives the indication that at that time WASH cost information was available only for the delivery of water and sanitation infrastructure such as borehole, pipelines, etc but not on service delivery. A basic level of service in the rural areas entails each person receiving at least 20 litres of water a day and having a water point within 500 metres, which is shared with no more than 300 people
Dr. Nyarko said the water and sanitation service delivery at that time was focused more on the provision of infrastructure rather than water and sanitation services. As a result the sector did not make adequate provision for operations, major repairs, rehabilitation and replacement of components of the infrastructure, which are critical for sustainable service delivery. Thus the situation characterized by investments in the provision of infrastructure but within a short time service delivery deteriorates, requiring the need to look for new money to provide new infrastructure. This situation, the ‘business as usual’ and did not promote sustainable service delivery.
Dr. Nyarko said, to ensure sustainable service, there was the need to invest in the infrastructure, make provision for operation and maintenance, repairs and rehabilitation and then upgrade. He said even though the WASHCost project is coming to end, it is just the beginning of the implementation of the LCCA approach, an approach to improve WASH service delivery.
The WASHCost Legacy to Ghana WASH sector
According to WASHCost, to move from business as usual to sustainable WASH service delivery, there was the need to identify the cost of providing the services and measure the cost against service delivered. This brought in the Life cycle cost approach, which has two frameworks for measuring the life cycle cost and the WASH service levels.
The life cycle cost is the cost of ensuring adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to a specific population in a determined geographical area – not just for a few years but indefinitely.
The framework for disaggregating the life cycle cost components is available at …..Briefing Note 1
Using the life-cycle cost approach enables service providers to consider a wider range of costs, and to compare effectively the different WASH delivery systems within a state, country or region and to plan appropriately.
This is the concept and legacy that WASHCost is leaving with the WASH sector in Ghana.
Dr. Kwabena Nyarko said the WASHCost study was carried out in 31 rural communities, 4 small towns where WASh service levels were measured using 1,373 household surveys. In addition case studies in 17 small towns were carried out focusing on cost. The WASHCost focus regions and districts were–Volta (Ketu South), Ashanti (Bosomtwe) and Northern (East Gonja).
Highlights of the study
1. The main barrier to the achievement of basis water service delivery is partly due to:
- Low expenditure on direct support cost particularly for monitoring and backstopping at the district level.
- Low expenditure on CapManEx for repairs, rehabilitation and asset renewals due to lack of effective financing mechanism for CapManEx at all levels.
2. The capital expenditure per person for water piped schemes in small towns is more expensive compared to the water point systems (borehole with hand pump), but delivers acceptable services to a higher percentage of the populations than water point systems (borehole with handpump).
- The capital cost of the piped schemes per capita could go up to 2-5 times that of the water point systems.
- The recurrent cost per person of the piped schemes could go up to 10 times that of the water point systems.
- Piped water systems deliver acceptable services to 67% of the population whilst the water point systems deliver acceptable services to 34% of the population.
3. Well performing small towns piped water systems had funding for their capital maintenance expenditure from their water revenue derived from their tariffs.
Uptake of LCCA in Ghana-
- Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing Benchmarking study on cost for rural and urban water supply and water resources management
- UNICEF study on Cost, Effectiveness on CLTS using the LCCA
- Urban poor –WSUP/GUWL for Akaporiso meter clustering
- Planning, budgeting of WASH services delivery
- Triple S – LCCA and Asset management’
The International Perspective of WASHCost
Mrs. Catarina Fonseca, WASHCost Director Global, IRC International made a presentation on the global perspectives of the WASHCost project. Mrs. Catarina stated that in the last five years there was very limited knowledge on the long term cost in providing water and sanitation in rural and peri-urban area, disaggregated real costs beyond infrastructure construction, limited “formal accounting” language used in the sector to describe costs and limited discussions on what is meant by a “service”.
Mrs. Catarina said, to break away from the ‘business as usual’ of the cycle of exclusive focus on investment cost, systems not working after a couple of years, new systems constructed one after the other, ad-hoc planning and inappropriate investment in WASH, IRC and partners worked on a methodology to determine the cost and compare that with the service levels
She said the theory of change of WASHCost is better identification of gaps and planning, facilitation of the Learning Alliances, better disaggregated life cycle costs, data used in planning and data implementation. Currently, more than 50 organisations worldwide have adopted the life cycle cost approach
Victor Narteh Otum
November 03, 2012