The chiefs and people of Mafi-Kumase in the Central Tongu District of the Volta Region have celebrated their 30th "Tsiza" (Water Festival) on Saturday with a launch of a three-year sanitation project.
"The sanitation project targets to provide at least 500 household bio-digester latrines across the catchment area at an estimated unit cost of GH¢2,000.00," said Togbe Brebtua Asafo IV, Mankrolo of Mafi Traditional Area.
The grand durbar was under the theme: "Self-help development, reconnecting our past with the future: The turn of sanitation."
He said the sanitation project had become necessary looking at the horrifying sanitation situation which was taking a toll on socio-economic and health conditions of the population.
Togbe Asafo explained that the funding for the project will be based on fifty/fifty cost-sharing approach between the project facilitator and the beneficiaries.
He appealed to the government and all benevolent and corporate institutions to assist towards the completion of the sanitation project which is expected to start from January 2020 to December 2023.
However, Togbe indicated that, the water facility was operated beyond its designed capacity due to an increase in population.
He said most of the installations, including pumps and electro-mechanical equipment for the facility designed for nine communities with 5,000 population, were no longer functioning.
"Therefore, the Mafi-Kumase Town Development Committee (TDC) rehabilitated and expanded the system to ensure continuous and adequate delivery of potable water to the people," he said.
He said that the facility now serve 22 communities with 15,000 population.
Mr Philipp Stadler, the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, said three decades ago, the drinking water in Mafi-Kumase was a source of guinea worm infestation, and people were badly affected by bilharzia infections too.
"As a result, some teachers, nurses and public servants refused to stay and work in the community.
"This was the situation when Mr Kolly Dorcoo left Mafi-Kumase in 1962 to study engineering in Zurich.
"Settled down in Switzerland, yet 20 years later, Kolly Dorcoo and his Swiss working colleague Martin Wegelin came up with the idea to install a natural, sand- based filter system to improve the water quality in Mafi-Kumase.
"2019 marks not only thirty years of water supply for Mafi-Kumase, it is also the unique success story," he said.
Mr Michael Yaw Gyato, Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resource, commended the people of Mafi-Kumase for managing the water system for 30 years.
He said stories about managing water systems in other communities were nothing to write home about.
He said the challenge of managing water systems by communities and the high incidence of facility breakdowns and fund mismanagement "is leading the ministry to take a second look at operations and maintenance of water systems in communities".