Some residents of Devtraco Courts in Community 25 of Tema in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, are unhappy with the infrequent supply of water into their homes. The last time the tap flowed in the homes of these concerned residents was as far back as September 2020. This situation, according to the Concerned Neighbours of Devtraco (C-NOD), has occasioned the need for a protest which would be held on Saturday, March 20, 2021 as one of the steps towards getting an apt and immediate solution to their predicament.
In an interview with Real Estate Times Africa (RETAfrica), the Convener of the C-NOD who is also a mechanical engineer by profession, Mr. Daniel Appiah, said more than 80per cent of residents were being affected particularly those uphill. According to Mr. Appiah as a result of the infrequent supply of water from Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) into their homes, most residents have had to rely on water tankers – a situation he describes as costing the affected residents between GHC250 to GHC280 per month while large households among them incur about GHC600-GHC800 per month on water from water tankers.
The issue is such that even in instances where GWCL opens its valves for water supply into this gated community, residents/clusters within the downhill enclave get water while those uphill do not. This is because of the design of the pipelines and non-availability of a booster pump, Mr. Appiah said. He explained further that “because at the time you [Devtraco] built the initial apartments, all these ones[buildings]on the hill were not considered. So now that you [Devtraco] are expanding, they put-up different design and it is not working . . . you need to look at the design again”.
On the role of the Residents’ Association and Devtraco Management in championing such a major concern of the residents, the Convener noted that albeit the issue has been raised and discussed severally for years at the Residents’ Association and Devtraco Management level, it has not yielded their expected outcome.
Mr. Appiah further stressed that “… as a homeowner, I depend on my home provider to resolve some of these issues. Because under the home contract, they [Devtraco] mentioned that there is an easy supply and regular supply of water. And I want to believe that majority if not everyone in the estate bought their houses based on this”.
Hence, the need for a protest to create the awareness about the severity of the issue and how residents are being affected. The protest comes with a three-month ultimatum to Devtraco Management to engage with GWCL to ensure constant supply to the estate; restructuring of pipelines, and the installation of a booster pump to facilitate waterflow to households uphill. The C-NOD will seek legal redress if their intended protests and other means by which they intend to engage with Devtraco Management does not result in the desired outcome.
In an interview with RETAfrica regarding the issue at hand, Management of Devtraco admitted that the water situation was a challenge not to only residents of the gated community but the entire Tema Community 25 and its environs. According to Mr. James Twum Bonful, the Project Director (Infrastructure) of Devtraco, what made the situation a bit unique within the locality was the high concentration of houses (of about 1,200 houses) within the enclave of the gated community.
Mr. Bonful was marveled at the sidestepping of Residents’ Association which is the official representative of residents in the gated community on the issue. The Project Director believed that if the aforementioned concerns had been channeled through the Residents’ Association, the Association would not embark on a protest, since the Council of the Residents’ Association understood Devtraco Management’s efforts in engaging with GWCL to resolve the issue. He was also disappointed that upon receiving notice for the protest from the Convener and asking about the issues, the Convener was unwilling to tell him the issues and would only do so on the day of the protest. The Project Director opined that the protest should rather be against the GWCL and not the Management of Devtraco.
According to the Project Director, “as a developer, we [Devtraco] have done the water network that all things being equal, everybody should get water. . . but everybody knows that GWCL has never been able to meet water demand especially for Accra-Tema area because of our population and capacity”.
Mr. Bonful added that consequently, the GWCL has being rationing water in these areas. Thus, the problem was not necessarily peculiar to residents of Devtraco Courts and it was quite unfortunate for any resident to have thought that Devtraco as a developer has not done something right. He noted that Devtraco was not responsible for water provision, but if any of their residents had a concerned with Devtraco’s technical inadequacies backed by GWCL, which has resulted in the infrequent supply of water, it was something Management would welcome.
On the issue of a booster pump station, the Project Director explained that it was an option that Devtraco Management alone could not undertake. Mr. Bonful indicated that such a project required huge capital outlay for which Management of the Estate does not have the financial muscle to undertake. Using the “valve and network” (internal rationing) approach which allows for a section of the residents to have water at a particular period when GWCL opens its valves and leaving other residents with no water inflow could have been an alternative. However, Devtraco as a developer was not permitted to tamper with the system, according to Mr. Bonful.
The Project Director believed that the solution laid in the provision of a booster station, a reservoir and usage of bigger pipelines in the Tema Community 25 area, as it has been done in places such as Adenta and Kasoa. Management of Devtraco, however, understood the frustration of the affected residents and therefore called for a concerted effort through dialogue to find a lasting solution to the perennial water challenge.
Source: Sampson Kesse (Real Estate Times Africa)