The Water Supply For Developing Countries Construction Essay

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Access to safe water supply is a common need and critical for human development. The availability of safe water supply contributes completely to improve public health and economic development (DFID, 1998). For the developing countries, however, access to safe water is a challenge. At the beginning of 2000, at least 1.1 billion people in the world lacked access to safe water (UNICEF and WHO, 2000). The majority of these people live in Africa, where fewer than out of five Africans lack improved water supply.

Millions of people mostly children, die every year from with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene practices associated diseases. The combination of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene practices is recognized as a precondition for reduction in morbidity and mortality rates, especially among children (SIWI, 2005). According to (WHO, 2004), 1.8 million people in the world die from diarrhoea (including cholera) diseases every year and 88% of these diseases is ascribed to unsafe water supply poor hygiene practices and inadequate sanitation. WHO (WHO, 2004), reports that the "access to improved water supply reduces diarrhoea morbidity by 21% and improved sanitation reduces diarrhoea morbidity by 37.5%".

The WHO also reports that 500 million people in the world are at risk from trachoma. Of these 146 million are threatened by blindness and 6 million people are visually impaired by trachoma (WHO, 2004). These diseases are strongly related to lack of face washing opportunities, due to absence of sources of safe water. Improving safe water supply sources and introducing better hygiene practices can reduce trachoma morbidity by 27%.

Access to water supply contributes to economic development through the reductions in productivity losses due to illness and time wasted in collecting water. Readily available water supply empowers women to engage in economic activities and allow girls to have to have time to attend school (SIWI, 2005). Carrying water long distances and waiting at sources waste the energy and time particularly of women and children at the expense of family activities, education and productive work (GWP and WWC, 2003). The sickness and illness resulting from water related diseases have far reaching adverse effects. The victims would have to be taken care of, health care costs paid as well as time lost for the productive activities. In Africa, it is estimated that over 24 billion hours per year is lost in caring for those with diarrhoea; and the absence of water and sanitation services results in the loss of productivity amounting to US$ 3.2 billion per year and health cost of about US $ 20 billion per year.

Many of the people without access to safe water spend a significant amount of their time collecting water of poor quality. This reduces the time available for engaging in productive ventures and affects school attendance of children. In Africa, it is estimated that 40 billion hours per year is spent in collecting water (ISWD, 2000). The fourth round of Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS4) reveals the time spent in collecting water. One percent of the population spends between 3 to 6 hours in fetching water a day, 4 % spend between two to three hours per day and 35% spend between zero to one hour (GSS, 2000b). The average time spent in collecting water per person was 38 minutes per day (GSS, 2000b).

The benefits of having improved water supply and satisfactory sanitation services far outweigh the cost of the service (DFID, 1998). A cholera epidemic in Peru in the 1991 resulted in the loss of about US $ 1 billion in lost tourism and exports, which could have paid for all the water supply and sanitation systems in Peru, needed to prevent such an outbreak from occurring (DFID, 1998). The study of Hutton and Haller (Hutton, G. and Haller, L., 2004) on economic cost and the benefit of selected interventions to improve water and supply and sanitation to achieve UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water supply by halving the proportion of those without access to water supply by the 2015 revealed that in developing regions an investment of US $ 1 would benefits in the range of US $ 5-$ 28, with the main contributors to the benefits being the time savings.

Water Supply in Ghana

Water supply was initially categorized based on population as either urban or rural with the rural defined as a community with less than 5000 inhabitants. This classification is consistent with the national definitions of rural and urban communities, which are used by the Ghana Statistical Service. This classification did not pose problems when there was only one formal and official water service provider in Ghana. However, with the reforms in the water supply sector resulting in two approaches for water supply delivery another classification has emerged.

Currently, water supply is also classified based on the approach of service delivery as urban Water supply (UWS) or Community Water Supply (CWS). The urban water supply is made up of about 86 urban systems under the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) management. GWCL is the public utility responsible for water supply delivery in the urban areas. The rest of the water systems, which are rural and small towns systems fall under the CWS. The government agency responsible for facilitating community water supply in the rural and small towns is the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA).

Community water supply problems

Community water supply refers to water supply to rural and small towns, which are owned and managed by the communities. Small towns' water supply in Ghana refers to water supply delivery using piped networks to communities with populations between 2,000 and 50,000 under the Community Ownership and Management (COM) arrangement. Under the COM, the communities elect their representatives to form the Water and Sanitation Development Boards (WSDB) who are responsible for the management of the water system. Rural water refers to the use of point sources, such as those fitted with hand pumps.

At the close of the year 2006, the total number of functional point sources in Ghana stood at 22,685[source]. These were serving 6,805,500 people, based on the National Community Water and Sanitation Programme (NCWSP) criteria that a borehole of acceptable characteristics should serve a maximum of 300 people each of whom is within a maximum walking distance of 500 m (CWSA, 2003a).

The total number of small towns' water supply under the community management stood at 288. The main challenge in achieving universal service in this sector is the resource needed to expand the services to those who are currently not served.

Small Towns Project Cycle

Project Promotion - for the prospective Community to be familiar with the project cycle and procurement procedures

Community Selection and Approval - by the District Assembly in collaboration with the CWSA

Community Mobilisation - An extension team is engaged to provide relevant community mobilisation and extension services in each beneficiary community/.

Hygiene Education and Sanitation promotion

Participatory Planning - to ensure that beneficiary communities are adequately informed and are responsible for decisions made on the system

Design - Water supply systems shall be adequately designed to provide reliable and good quality water over the design period

Construction, operation and Maintenance of the facility

Post Project - the CWSA shall provide relevant post project support (up to one year) to the beneficiary communities to promote achievement of the system sustainability.

Role of the External Support Agencies (Donors)

The main external support agencies are multi-lateral, bilateral institutions and governments that support the sector. They include the African Development Bank (AfDB), Agence France de Development (AFD) - France, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) - Canada, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) - Denmark, Department for International Development (DfID) - UK, European Union (EU), International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, JICA - Japan International Co-operative Agency, KFW/GTZ - Kreditanstalt fur Wiederufbau and the German Agency for Technical co-operation, the Netherlands Government, UNDP and UNICEF. The roles of the partners range from financing feasibility studies through project preparation, facility delivery, Capacity building up to monitoring and evaluation.

Small Towns water supply and Sanitation

According to the National Community Water and Sanitation Project (NCWSP), the financing arrangement for capital cost for small towns' water supply construction is: ESAs 90%, District Assembly 5% and the community members 5%. Quite recently, community contribution has been removed due to concerns about the inability to pay by small towns but allowed to mobilize funds towards O&M implementation after the construction of the systems. As such almost all of the investment in the small towns' water and sanitation sector are from ESAs (Donors).

Funding from the external support agencies are currently provided on a project-by-project basis. However, national executing institutions (mostly CWSA) are appointed to handle disbursements.

The approach to project formulation, implementation and operation and management varies from one external support agency to another. At one extreme is the World Bank/IDA approach used for the community water and sanitation Project. This approach relies on building capacity at the District level and allowing the Das to procure the goods and services in respect of the project. In this case the CWSA acts as the facilitator and provides the necessary support for the DAs. In the case of CIDA, the projects sometimes are initiated and planned at the CWSA regional level or a Canadian Executing/Advisory Agency setup for project management activities with CWSA providing the necessary support. Another approach used in the case of the EU supported small towns water project was for the CWSA head office to initiate, procure and manage the project.

The National Community Water and Sanitation strategy, which underscores demand driven approach, community ownership and management, advocates for high level of the beneficiary communities involvement and the adherence to the CWSA guidelines to enhance sustainability of the services. The procurement rules differ for the various projects because of the project approach, which makes project implementation difficult for the CWSA and the DAs. That notwithstanding, the role of the CWSA and the DAs in the performance of these ESAs (Donors) funded water and sanitation projects is very crucial and cannot therefore be underestimated.

Water and Sanitation Projects in Northern Ghana

The main client of the construction industry for which water and sanitation projects are no exception in most countries is the government (Okpala and Aiekwu, 1988). However, many of the water and sanitation projects experience extensive delays and thereby exceed the initial time and cost estimates (Odeh and Battaineh, 2002), and often asked for extension of time and sometimes additional funding from the ESAs (donors).

Only a few projects can be found without the few of late completion by the Project Manager, hence time performance is one of the key measures of project success. (Tukel and Belassi, 1996), (Walker, 1995)

The Latham Report (Latham, 1994) suggested that "ensuring timely delivery of projects is one of the important needs of clients of the construction industry". Severe criticisms of the industry arise if it takes much longer than the stipulated project time ( Flanagan et al., 1986). Timely execution of projects is an indicator of an efficient performance of the industry.

The water and sanitation process can be divided into three important phases, i.e. project conception, project design and project implementation and construction. Usually, the vast majority of project delays occur during the 'construction' phase, where many unforeseen factors are always involved (Chan and Kumaraswamy, 1997). In projects, performance could be defined as the time within which the completion date is specified in the project document, or within the agreed date for the delivery of a project agreed upon by the stakeholders involved. Delays occur when the project is slipping over its planned schedule and this is a common problem with the water and sanitation projects in the Northern Region. Projects meeting timely completion are an indicator of efficiency, but water and sanitation projects are subjected to many variables and irregular factors, which arise from many sources. The sources are the of parties performances, availability of resources, environmental conditions, participation of other parties, and contractual relations, and the completion of a project within the specified time is rare (Assaf and AL-Hejji, 2006).

Cost and schedule overruns occur due to wide range of factors. If project costs or schedules exceed their planned targets, client satisfaction would be compromised. The funding profile no longer matches the budget requirement and further slippage in the schedule could result (Kaliba et al., 2009).

When projects experience delay, they are extended or accelerated and hence, additional cost is incurred. The practice is to allow a percentage of the project cost as a contingency which is usually a percentage judgment of the contract price. (Akinsola, 1996). Therefore, delays in construction projects cause dissatisfaction to stakeholders concerned and the significant responsibility of the project manager is ensuring that projects are executed or performed within predetermined or prescribed time and cost.

(Frimpong et al., 2003), revealed that project management tools and techniques play an important role in the effective management of a project. PMBOK defines Project Management as "the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements" ((PMI), 2008). Project management involves managing the resources-workers, machines, money, materials and methods used (Giridhar and Ramesh, 1998). Some projects are effectively and efficiently managed while others go through difficult processes, incurring much delay and cost overruns.

The successful execution of water and sanitation projects and keeping them within estimated cost and prescribed schedules depend on a methodology that requires sound engineering judgment. To the aversion of all stakeholders, however, many projects experience extensive performance setbacks and thereby exceed initial time and cost estimates.

Therefore, improving projects performance and efficiency by means of cost-effectiveness and timeliness would certainly contribute to cost savings for the country as a whole. Efforts directed to cost and time effectiveness were associated with managing time and cost, which in this study would be approached via investigating time and cost performance of water and sanitation projects in the Northern Region of Ghana.

Time and Cost Performance in the Water Sector

The most important objectives and policies of any public or private sectors dealing with the execution of projects is to upgrade projects performance, through reduction of costs, completion of projects within their assigned budget and time constraints, and improve quality. Water and sanitation projects in the northern region are afflicted with many problems which affect time, cost and quality, these factors related project management situation and techniques used.

Research Problem

Project performance with respect to time and cost are considered the most important factors of successful projects, which help to decrease problems for all stakeholders and give new chances to launch another related projects by the same or another ESA in the region. In the northern region, there are many water and sanitation projects that fail in performance. In addition, performance measurement systems are not effective or efficient to overcome such problems. Water and sanitation projects performance problem appears through different directions. There are many constructed projects fail in time performance, others fail in cost performance and others fail in other performance indicators. Most water and sanitation projects in the region are exposed to delay to the extent that sometimes they may extend to the half period of time specified for that project, causing loss of project's benefits, increasing cost and leading to technical and managerial problems between project's stakeholders. The problem is a result of sometimes the government support in terms of budget for running cost of the Agency. The DAs in many instances are not able to provide the needed logistic and financial support to the DWD/DWST. This delays project implementation and performance.

Research Aim

The main aim of this research is to access factors of cost and time performance of donor funded water and sanitation projects in the Northern Region of Ghana.

Research Objectives

To assess and identify the factors affecting cost and time performance of donor funded water and sanitation in the north.

To investigate or assess how the effects can be minimized

To assess the level of coordination among the various stakeholders implementing these projects

To test hypothesis to verify the association between ranking of donors, CWSA DAs and consultants regarding key performance indicators.

To formulate recommendations/strategies for improving project performance/delivery based on the findings of this study.

Limitations and Assumptions

This research includes the following limitations:

The study is to assess cost and time performance of donor funded water and sanitation projects in the Northern Region only.

Literature on cost and time performance in Ghana is very limited

The duration of the case analysis is for a period of ten years only from 2000-2010

1.4 Justification

Water and Sanitation sector has complexity in its nature because it contains large number of parties as clients, contractors, consultants, stakeholders, shareholders, regulators and others. Water and sanitation projects in the northern region suffer from many problems and complex issues in performance because of many reasons and factors. This thesis is very important to identify and to evaluate the main factors affecting the cost and time performance of these projects in the Northern Region. The practices concerning with the KPIs such as time, cost, project owner satisfaction will be analyzed in order to know the main practical problems of projects performance in the region and then to formulate recommendations to improve performance of water and sanitation projects. Because of performance problem as shown previously and because previous studies in the region about this topic do not deal with all aspects of project performance; this study is required and very important to be considered. In this research, factors affecting the performance of water and sanitation projects in the region will be studied. These factors can be said as key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs can be used to measure performance in the projects and can then be used for benchmarking purposes. This will be a key component of any organization moving towards achieving best practice in order to overcome performance problem in the Northern Region.

1.5 Thesis Structure

This research consists of five main chapters as followings:

Chapter one: Introduction: this chapter shows the main objectives of research, statement of the problem and justification of research

Chapter two: Literature review: this chapter shows a historical review from previous studied to identify the main factors affecting the performance of construction projects

Chapter three: Methodology: this chapter shows the main methodologies used in previous studies and the methodology used in this research in order to achieve the required objectives

Chapter four: Results and Discussions analysis: this chapter shows analysis, description and discussion of research results

Chapter five: Conclusions and Recommendations