July 2023

Synthesis of water safety planning efforts in Ghana


Ghana exceeded the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) water coverage target (7C) to halve the proportion of the population without access to an improved water source by 2015. By 2008, rural and urban access levels to improved sources were 77% and 93%, respectively. The Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) definition of “improved” drinking water sources includes “piped water on-premises” (i.e., a household water connection located inside the user’s dwelling, plot, or yard), public taps or standpipe, tube wells or boreholes, protected dug wells, protected springs, and rainwater collection.

Regardless of the water source, this definition does not specify whether the water is of good quality, and the incidence of water- and sanitation-related diseases remains high. Diarrheal disease mainly results from drinking fecally contaminated water and is the third most reported illness by health centers across Ghana. It is estimated more than 6,600 diarrhea-related deaths occur each year, over half of which affect children under five.

This challenge is magnified in Northern Ghana, particularly in rural communities, where many people lack access to safe water. Over 32% of the 2.5 million residents in the main northern region alone lack access to improved water sources.

Studies and national surveys in Ghana have found that many water quality parameters do not conform to the national water quality standards (Ministry of Water Resource, Works, and Housing 2015). In 2015, Ghana developed a National Drinking Water Quality Management Framework (NDWQMF) based on the Water Safety Plan (WSP) approach to reducing contamination and other water supply risk. The Ghanaian NDWQMF promotes an understanding of the entire water supply system, including hazards that can compromise drinking water quality and the operational control needed to optimize drinking water quality and protect public health.

Why this study?

This study provides a synthesis of Ghana’s water safety plan (WSP) implementation efforts. It highlights the implementation status, enabling environment, challenges, opportunities, and relevant recommendations for improvement. It aims to synthesize Ghana’s Water Safety Plan (WSP) implementation efforts.

DISCLAIMER: This brief is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this brief are the sole responsibility of The Aquaya Institute and REAL-Water consortium members. They do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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