Ghana: PURC Holds Third Regulatory Conversation Series On Water Supply


Ghana’s technical regulator for electricity and water utilities, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), has held its third regulatory conversation series at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

The ‘Regulatory Conversation Series’ presents insights on contemporary utility regulatory matters to a high-level audience of policymakers, development partners, other African utility regulators, utility executives, industry, academia and regulatory professionals.

The format is a lecture followed by an in-depth panel discussion facilitated by a knowledgeable moderator about the sector.

This year’s event which was under the theme: ‘Confronting the Status Quo of Ghana’s Drinking Water Supply: Best Practices in Resilience, Sustainability, and Investment’, attracted participants from the water and electricity supply sectors, consumer advocacy groups, and academia.

The Special Guest Speaker for the public lecture was Jeanne-Astrid Ngako De Foki, Manager in -charge of Water Coordination and Partnership at AfDB.

The panel members were Ing. Clifford Braimah, Managing Director for Ghana Water Company Limited, Ing. Bertha Darteh, Water and Sanitation Governance Expert, and Ing. Kwabena Britwim Nyarko, Provost College of Engineering, KNUST.

Delivering a welcome address, the Board Chairman of PURC, Mr Ebo B. Quagrainie, said that even though PURC’s water mandate is limited to urban areas, the Commission, from its vantage position as the sole regulator of energy and water utility service, has acquired deep insights into cross-cutting structural and operational bottlenecks that exist between urban and rural structures.

It is worth noting that despite significant progress in the water sector in Ghana, obstacles persist that impede universal access to safe drinking water.

He said, “These circumstances have prompted us to question whether, after several years of implementing the aforementioned reforms, is it not time to reassess the situation?”

He raised concerns about low investment in water infrastructure despite the critical nature of the sector.

He said, “We have long been conditioned to accept perennial water rationing attributed to ageing infrastructure and high water losses.

“How can we attract sustainable investment to address water infrastructure needs and supply security, while at the same time keeping tariffs affordable?”

Touching on the need to invest in technology, Mr. Ebo B. Quagrainie noted that much investment should focus on cost-effective systems, leak detection technologies, modern mapping technologies and database systems.

He said the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources has been actively collaborating with the PURC to address the sustainable development and management of Ghana’s water resources and supply and regulatory structures.

He noted that the new National Water Policy developed by the Ministry and approved by Cabinet in 2024, accurately acknowledges these imperatives.

He said the Commission sees the regulatory conversation as an important step on a journey which it hopes would remove the persistent bottlenecks which have made it too comfortable with a status quo that fails to address resilience, sustainability and investment in Ghana’s water sector