Kwaku Botwe, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), could find himself imprisoned if his performance fails to meet expectations.
The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) would be allowed by law to seek the jailing of the water company boss should the body feel unsatisfied by the GWCL’s performance.
Nana Yaa Jantuah, the Public Relations and External Affairs Director of PURC who disclosed this to Joy News, said that imprisonment is just one of the punitive measures the Commission could use to sanction the GWCL for failing to deliver.
She further noted that aside imprisoning the CEO, the Commission could fine the company or refuse it a tariff increment.
On Tuesday, the Commission summoned the GWCL to a crucial meeting over an earlier decision by the latter to ration water in the Greater Accra Region for the next six months.
Comrade Bonney, the Acting Chairman of the Commission, said they would no longer tolerate their inefficiency and threatened to block a further tariff increment.
“If you begin to behave in this manner, one of the things we can do is to deny you tariff [increment]. We want to punish you by denying you a tariff increment even though you are entitled to that. That is to show you how serious the commission is."
Nana Yaa Janntuah confirmed that the Commission is determined in its decision to deny the GWCL the increase. This, she said, should not be seen as an “empty threat” since this would not be the first time that her organization has adopted the measure. The GWCL has been refused a tariff increment twice: last year during the automatic adjustment tariff as well as two years ago, she said.
However Ghana Urban Water Company Limited Communications Manager Stanley Martey indicated to Joy News that the company has no choice under the current circumstance but to ration water.
He explained that in Accra, for instance, three sources of treatment plants are producing an average of 100 million gallons of water daily, but the company’s own research shows that demand is about 160 million gallons per day.
The GWCL cannot be blamed if demand outstrips supply, he said. “If we all do not troop down to the city in search of, let’s say, greener pastures, we will have enough or adequate resources for everybody in this country. If you go to other regions we have other treatment plants that are underutilized because the population there is not enough.”
Notwithstanding that, he said, the company has been able to meet the Ghana Standards Authority’s requirements for quality drinking water production, criteria that he said are far stricter that those of the WHO.
Meanwhile, he said, the GWCL is doing all it can to ensure that the shortage minimally affects consumers.
He said that about five experts have so far assessed the condition of the company’s filters and are expected to come out with their proposal after three weeks of evaluation so that the best party could be selected to construct the new filters.
Though he admitted that rationing water would not stop entirely anytime soon, he assured the public that after certain projects are completed by 2014, the company expects to expand its coverage to 90-95%.
The current rationing exercise, he promised, would be resolved “in about two months.”
Meanwhile, Nana Yaa Jantuah noted that the GWCL has been given up to Friday to find ways to mitigate the shortage’s impact on its clients before the rationing starts.
She said that the GWCL has been ordered to also submit a timetable on their mitigation process as well as communication plan to the public, which should be published in the dailies if possible.