The Head of Communication at the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Stanley Martey, has alleged that more than 90 percent of sachet water on the market is just raw tap water repackaged by various sachet water producers.
This is contrary to suggestions that the sachet water is properly treated and therefore better than the raw resource directly supplied by the Ghana Water Company.
He made the comment while responding to a demographic and Health Survey report by the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Statistical Service that revealed that 29% of Ghanaians rely on sachet water.
“More than 90 percent of sachet water producers use water from the Ghana Water Company as their raw material for the production of sachet water..It is all from Ghana Water Company and not any industry trying to treat its water.
“They rather devalue the water because if you look at the conditions under which some of these sachet water producers produce their water, it is rather pathetic. The conditions under which they work is terrible and even with the reputable companies, all they do is to filter. It is just a matter of packaging but it doesn’t mean they add any value to the water they are producing,” Mr. Martey insisted.
The report revealed that 43 % of urban dwellers and 11 .8 % of rural dwellers respectively rely on sachet water while 23 % of Ghanaians resort to public tap or stand pipe for water.
“The most notable change in access to drinking water sources between 2008 and 2014 is the increase in the proportion of households using sachet water from 8% to 29% in the past six years,” the report said.
It also said: “the proportion of households that use drinking water from public taps/ stand pipe or tube well/ borehole has decreased from 57 % in the 2008 GDHS to 44% in the 2014 GDHS, most likely due to switching to sachet water in the latter survey.”
But Mr. Martey insisted “Ghanaians use sachet water not as a preference or not because it is better than the treated water from the Ghana Water Company but because it is available.”
Sachet water producers disagree
Meanwhile the President of the National Association of Sachet and Packaged Water Producers, Magnus Nunoo has dismissed assertions that sachet water companies only repackage water from GWCL without treatment.
Mr. Nunoo told Citi Breakfast Show host, Bernard Avle that most of the sachet water companies use water from GWCL as their primary source but submit it for further treatment.
‘We test the raw water we use at the labs to determine the contaminants and then deal specifically with them.”
He further revealed that the products and facilities of sachet water companies are subjected to checks from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).