Remarks for DCM Pat Alsup at the Commissioning of Ashanti Water Stations
His Excellency Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene,
Chief and Elders;
Honorable President/First Lady/Minister;
Honorable Regional Minister;
The Regional and District Government Officials;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is a real honor to join you this morning for the commissioning of a safe water station at Yawkwei. This is my first trip to the Ashanti Region and I have been looking forward to participating in this important commissioning.
From Accra to Gushegu, we hear and understand the importance of access to water. This is an issue that many in the U.S. take for granted, while others in California and the West Coast have learned about water shortages the hard way and had been force to learn how to plan for new and changing dry seasons and drought.
Today’s event is part of a global effort to help ensure that all Ghanaians and all the citizens of our planet can access safe drinking water. I am told that today’s commissioning will ensure that 13,000 people in this region have clean water and that water borne diseases are reduced. These are important steps forward!
As we look forward to recognizing World Water Day next week, we thought it appropriate to share a few key facts about water with you. Perhaps no two issues are more important to human health, economic development, and peace and security than water and sanitation.
Without reliable supplies of water, we cannot grow food, we cannot produce energy, and we cannot sustain the environment upon which we all depend. We need clean water for a healthy world.
Women and girls are water collectors and are disproportionately impacted by the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation. 272 million school days are lost each year due to water and sanitation-related diseases.
Finally, achieving sustainable increases in food production requires sound water management. In Africa, 96% of cropland is rain fed. Without proper soil and watershed management, sufficient clean water will not be available to meet the needs of people, agriculture and ecosystems.
The concept of partnership is central to our development agenda in Ghana. This spirit of “partnership” – embodied by the many public and private initiatives the United States undertakes in Ghana – is why we are here today.
The support to the Safe Water Network by BGI Properties – an American based-real estate company – is a perfect example of how businesses and individuals from America recognize that doing business in Ghana is not just building a new hotel or a mall, but working with Ghanaians to develop the country. As partners with Ghana, both the U.S. government and BGI believe that what is good for Ghana is good for us and we are committed to a long-term relationship.
While there are a number of people that have worked tirelessly to complete this project, today’s commissioning is largely due to the perseverance and determined effort of the leadership of the Safe Water Network. Please join me in a round of applause for them and all those here today who have worked on this critically vital project.
Again, I congratulate you for the successful completion of this project. The fact that we are all here today demonstrates that communities with help from partners like the Safe Water Network and BGI can truly improve the quality of their lives.
Thank you very much.