Water Quality Testing Assurance Fund: Lessons Learned
- The Aquaya Institute (Aquaya) developed and evaluated a Water Quality Testing Assurance Fund to encourage Ghana Water Company Limited’s (GWCL) laboratory in the city of Sunyani in western Ghana to provide water quality monitoring services to small water systems in the nearby rural district of Asutifi North. Under the terms of the Assurance Fund, water systems were responsible for paying GWCL for monthly testing services. If water systems defaulted on their payments, GWCL could file a claim against the Assurance Fund.
- Between March 2020 and January 2021, GWCL collected 134 water quality samples from nine water systems, revealing microbial contamination in over half of the samples. This information raised awareness among water system managers, several of whom are now taking steps to improve the effectiveness of chlorination procedures.
- In two-thirds of cases, water systems paid GWCL within one month of receiving testing services. Despite payments being delayed for the remaining one-third of testing services, GWCL only filed one claim against the Assurance Fund, finding it more convenient to negotiate with defaulting water systems and give them more time.
- Evaluating the Assurance Fund helped identify technical and design adjustments required for future iterations. These adjustments will address the challenges that we experienced with respect to i) adherence to high-quality laboratory protocols, ii) logistics and communication, iii) community engagement, and iv) response to water contamination.
- The approach of centralizing water quality testing at a professional laboratory proved more cost-effective than on-site testing by water systems. Including Aquaya’s facilitation and oversight, the Assurance Fund approach cost an average of 388 GHS (67 USD) per test, which is approximately 60% of the cost of providing training and testing equipment to every water system.