Aqua Vitens Rand Limited, Operators of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has developed a water supply master plan for the Kumasi metropolis and its surrounding areas. This is to help improve on water supply for the metropolis and its surrounding areas in the next two years. The metropolis has been experiencing acute water shortages in recent times forcing management to institute a water rationing programme to equitably distribute water. This water problem has been attributed to a rapid increase in the population in the city without a commensurate increase in water production. The demand for water in Kumasi and its surrounding areas with a population of about 1.8million far exceeds supply of about 65 percent thereby resulting in acute water shortages. Mr Haruna Asoga, Ashanti Regional Public Relations Officer of the GWCL told the Daily Graphic that the master plan to be developed would entail the construction of new main transmission pipelines, rehabilitation and refurbishment works at the Owabi and Barekese treatment plants as well as construction of a new treatment plant. He said a total plant output of 120,000 metric cubes per day was expected to be achieved on completion of the project. He said the entire project, which has been estimated at Euros 37,999,870 is being funded by the Dutch Government Mixed Credit Facility under ORET/MILIEV programme. It would consist of a grant of 50percent of the contract price and 50 percent contribution by the Government of Ghana through a concessionary loan from the Fortis Bank. M/S Taylor Woodrow B.V is expected to implement the project on a turnkey basis. Kumasi being the capital of the Ashanti region and the second largest urban centre in Ghana as well as an important administrative and commercial centre, gets its water source from the Barekese and Owabi Headworks respectively. The total capacity of the two headworks are 95,000 metric cubes per day with Owabi producing 13,600 metric cubes per day and Barekese producing 82,000 metric cubes per day. Mr Asoga said the scope of the project would be construction of water transmission mains from Barekese to Suame, an additional 27,300 metric cubes per day treatment facilities at Barekese, construction of new booster stations and reservoir as well as modification and expansion of the treated water pumping station. He said the distribution network would be reinforced and extended and that a sludge treatment facility would also be constructed. He said a technical support including a programme for reduction of unaccounted for water, training of GWCL staff on asset management, hydraulic management, water resource study, master plan study and two years post construction operational support. Mr Asoga explained that the project when completed would improve the reliability and increased availability of water supply to Kumasi and its surrounding areas. This, he said was expected to increase the productivity of inhabitants of the metropolis thereby leading to economic development and reduction of poverty. The project will also tackle the environmental problems created by non-treatment of effluent from the existing plant and lead to the maximisation of the social and health benefits of clean safe reliable drinking water. "In the final analysis water supply to the metropolis would be enhanced to accelerate business opportunities such as food processing industries, tourism and other productive ventures and alleviate hardships associated with shortages of water to women and children in the region", he said.