Water, Transparency and Extractive Industries: The Case of Togo

An overview of recent initiatives for water integrity, in Togo, by Helene Ramos dos Santos  (Human Rights and Development Consultant, Geneva/Lomé)*

In Togo, water extracted for drinking water is accounted for under the EITI

On October 19, 2010, Togo was recognized as a candidate country for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI is “a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources” by encouraging:

  1. disclosure of taxes paid by companies operating in the mining sector, on the one hand,
  2. disclosure by governments of revenues received from those companies, on the other hand.

The objective is to ensure good natural resources management in order to stop the “resource curse” observed in many countries, which, despite their natural wealth, remain among the poorest in the world. The EITI, initiated in 2003, has so far shed light on major losses in the extraction of precious mineral and gas products in 35 countries.

Togo has been the first, and is still the only, EITI country counting water among its natural resources to be monitored through the EITI. Accordingly, companies that extract groundwater for the production of mineral waters must disclose royalties they pay.

Currently, 3 private companies exploit groundwater for the production of mineral waters, namely Voltic, Brasseries du Bénin (BB)/Vital and Horizon Oxygen Clever Sarl. The Togolaise des Eaux (TdE). The State company in charge of water supply, is also party to the EITI. Water extraction is determined by a water meter placed by TdE on site and is billed monthly at fixed prices depending on volume extracted (190 fcfa (up to 10m3), 380 fcfa (from 11 to 30 m3), 400 fcfa (from 31 to 50 m3), 425 fcfa (from 51 to 100 m3), and 500 fcfa above 100 m3).

The purpose of this type of data collection and comparison in the water sector is to ensure that royalties are paid in full and are transferred to the Fund for Integrated Water Resources Management foreseen by the Water Code (Art. 147). The Fund aims to improve water supply for the population, for instance through measures to protect water resources and enable participative water management.

Photo1-VolticWater_H-Ramos

Voltic bottled water production (Amla-Kope) – Voltic is the first bottled-water company in Togo ahead of Clever and Vital / BB. Voltic, just like Clever and Vital/BB belong to the EITI and report amounts paid to the State for drinking water extraction © Helene Ramos dos Santos

 

Water extracted for other purposes, including in the mining sector, remains outside the EITI framework

In the current application of the EITI in Togo, only the 4 above-mentioned companies report their water extraction for drinking purposes. It is necessary that transparency be extended to all forms of water extraction by all industries -including mining– in accordance with the polluter-pays and user-pays principles stated in the Water Code.
A watchdog mechanism was put in place by Friends of the Earth-Togo (Les Amis de la Terre Togo, ADTT) through the Publish What You Pay Coalition-Togo (PWYPC). The PWYPC-Togo works towards increased transparency in the water sector and an extension of the water extraction reporting requirements to more sectors. It was created based on a mapping of organizations working in the mining, economic transparency and/or water sectors with support from WaterLex, and is aligned with the activities of the Water NGO Platform. The PWYPC was officially launched in 2012, and now counts up to 28 members.

Photo2_Mining-in-Bassar_H-Ramos

Extraction of iron by MM Mining in Bassar (Bangeli) – Under the EITI, companies exploiting minerals do not report amounts paid for water use and water treatment © Helene Ramos dos Santos

 

Awareness raising and capacity building – a key step in increasing integrity of water exploitation

Water resource extraction processes tend to systematically deny local people their right to participate in the management of their natural resources. In addition, mining and mineral extraction generally lead to pollution of nearby drinking water sources. In response to these observations, the ADTT initiated a capacity development program in 2014 entitled  Eau et industries extractives: renforcement des capacités des communautés riveraines au Togo (Water and Extractive Industries: strengthening the capacities of coastal communities in Togo), with the financial support of the France Liberté Foundation. . The objective of this project is to build the capacities of communities affected by the extraction and exploitation of water for industrial purposes, to implement their Human Right to water and to monitor water transparency.  it is currently being implemented in the following villages: Vogan (water extraction), Tabligbo (clinker extraction), Agome – Tomégbé (water extraction), and Bangeli (open pit iron mines). The project consists in producing awareness-raising material based on the Togolese Water Code and National Water Policy, to inform the PWYPC members and the targeted communities about who can access water, who has priority in water access, how much is to be paid for water extraction and the financing circle of the water system.

For more information about the initiative, see:

Photo3_Bangeli_H-Ramos

The Bangeli Villagers Committee in charge of the issue of water pollution by the extraction of iron nearby by MM Mining ©Helene Ramos dos Santos

 
* Helene Ramos dos Santos is a development consultant, specialized in economic, social and cultural rights. She has worked four years in the water and sanitation sector, and two years in Togo. Helene has been working since 2011 with Friends of the Earth-Togo to set-up the Publish What You Pay-Coalition Togo and to develop the organization‘s program on water transparency.

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