Residents in many parts of Accra and Tema will have to live with a water rationing exercise that will be undertaken by Ghana Urban Water Limited (GUWL) over the next six months.
The exercise, according to the service provider, became necessary following the detection of a structural defect in four out of the 12 filters at the Weija Treatment Plant.
"The challenge is technical and it's as a result of structural defects detected in four out of 12 filters at the Weija Treatment Plant about two weeks ago.”
The defect, according to GUWL Communications Manager Stanley Martey, necessitates a complete redesigning and reconstruction of the four filters, an exercise that will take about six months to complete.
Communities in the western, eastern, and central parts of Accra as well as those in the Tema metropolitan area have been affected by the breakdown of the four filters.
The damage to the filters is now being assessed by engineers of the Ghana Water Company and specialist contractors in water treatment plant design and construction. Water filters remove impurities from water by means of a fine physical barrier, a chemical process or a biological process.
The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) produces water while the GUWL, which is a subsidiary of the GWCL, manages the water.
Mr Martey indicated that the breakdown of the filters had resulted in a shortfall of 20% of water production, representing 10 million gallons of water daily.
Residents in the affected areas had earlier suffered severe water shortages, some for as long as three weeks, compelling families to travel miles in search of the basic commodity as their taps remained dry.
Mr Martey explained that the company "is aware of the irregular water situation being experienced in those parts of the city and our engineers are working around the clock to rectify the situation and to improve on water flow."
He further explained that the shutting down of the filters was necessary as anything short of that would have meant compromising the quality of water that being treated and distributed to consumers.
"In order not to compromise on the quality of water produced, the company has had to isolate these filters and this has resulted in a shortfall in production of approximately 20 per cent, transmitting into about 10 million gallons per day."
The Weija Treatment Plant is not interconnected with any treatment plant in Accra and cannot, therefore, draw extra water in addition to the 55 million gallons that the plant produces daily.
According to Mr Martey, the plant rather pumped water to the Accra Booster Station at Okponglo, which was used to serve those in the eastern and central parts of Accra.
"Now that we are not producing at full capacity, we are not able to pump water regularly to the booster station, and that is why water supply to those parts of Accra is also being rationed," he stated.
In the interim, the GUWL and GWCL are appealing to residents to use treated water judiciously.
Mr Martey said that as part of water conservation measures, the indiscriminate watering of lawns with treated water must stop. Also, residents must use treated water moderately and wash their vehicles using buckets instead of a hose.
In addition, Mr Martey stated that households must also repair all leakages in their homes and use ball valves in reservoirs to prevent the overflowing of treated water.
He advised households to make water storage a part of their daily routine to ensure that there was water anytime the taps were dry.
Mr Martey also asked residents to report all burst pipes and leakages immediately to the nearest GUWL or GWCL and other affiliate offices for immediate repair.
Residents, he stated, must report all persons involved in illegal connections, by-passes and other forms of malpractice to either of the two companies.