Completing District Wide Coverage

The Goal: Safe Water for All, Always

Wassa East District, in western Ghana, is Water4’s innovation incubator. In 2020, Water4 and its local business Access Development (AD) Ghana completed a proof-of-concept for the district wide approach of our NUMA model, by providing safe water services to homes, schools and clinics in Wassa East, Ghana. The model, whereby Water4 empowers a local social enterprise to manage service delivery, has proven a financially viable option for delivering on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.1–universal access to safe and affordable water – by 2030. This marks the first time that rural water services have been provided at such scale in Ghana. 


Wassa East Before

The challenge that AD Ghana faces in the Wassa East District is reaching the unserved who live in the poorer and rural areas, and making sure that WaSH services go from unsafe to safe, sustainable and affordable. Before AD Ghana began its operations in these areas access to water looked quite different. 

As a baseline, 53%of residents of Wassa East in 2016 were collecting dirty surface water to fill at least part of their daily water needs. The rest were mainly using groundwater sources, often through non-functional and unsafe boreholes with hand pumps, and rainwater.


As of 2019, only 73% of the Health Care Facilities (HCFs) met the Joint Monitoring Program’s (WHO and UNICEF) basic service level criteria and both service quality and water quality were major challenges. According to the CDC baseline assessment, 36% of HCFs reported having interruptions to water from the main source due to seasonal unavailability (for rainwater systems), mechanical breakdowns, and power outages, and restricted access at the source. One third of the primary water systems tested positive for E. coli, but the handful of  NUMA systems already completed were free from contamination. Water was available by tap in patient care areas in only one HCF. 

Figure 1 shows a baseline of households in Wassa East with various JMP water service levels in 2016 compared to 2019.

Wassa East Now

AD Ghana and WEDA continuously bring more convenient, accessible, and safer water options to people across the district. Between 2016 and 2020, 34,000 people received a better water service than they previously had. As of December 2020, AD Ghana had reached 96,032 people in the district with access to safe water. Now 93% of the district has access to continuous, safe water.

Market demand for NUMA water is strong and growing. 37.8% of residents of the district purchase NUMA as their primary or secondary source at least on a weekly basis. 

Compared to before, these NUMA households report:

  • Greater convenience – more water closer to home
  • Less interruption in supply from a broken water point
  • Improved water quality
  • Improved reliability

Additionally, in 2020, Water4 was able to make water, sanitation and hygiene improvements in 30 HCFs in the district, including internal plumbing for multi-room taps, elevated storage, and septic systems.

What’s Next?

District #2. AD Ghana will replicate the same approach in an adjacent district to reach another 100,000 customers starting in 2021. By 2030, AD Ghana plans to have completed district-wide coverage in two additional districts, for a total of four districts. This is a critical part of Water4’s 2030 Africa Vision of achieving district-wide coverage in 20 districts. 

As we continue to improve and work towards getting the recipe right in Ghana, we will have a replicable model to bring services to 7.4 million people by 2030. This major paradigm shift is not easy; it requires a proven model, empowered local businesses, and a commitment to learning and iterating as we go. Well aligned partners with mutually reinforcing activities will accelerate the achievement of a district’s vision.

More to come on this great achievement!

Scroll to Top