Human activities raise water production cost in Ashanti

Kumasi, March 26, GNA – The cost of water production keeps increasing daily in the Ashanti Region because of the socio-economic activities of the communities in the catchment areas of the major sources of raw water for treatment.

Mr. Manuel Tetteh, a Water Quality Assurance Officer of the Regional Office of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), said farming activities, fishing, and illegal lumbering constituted the major sources of pollution of the River Offin and its tributaries, which fed into the Barekese Dam.

He announced these when a group of Water, Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) sector players, with the Parliamentary Committee on Water Resources, Works and Housing, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), state actors and members of the Ghana Watsan Journalists Network (GWJN) embarked on a familiarization tour of the Barekese Dam and its catchment areas to learn at first-hand the nature of water production in the Region.

The trip was part of a four-day workshop on WASH Governance, organized by the West Africa WASH, under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mr. Tetteh said per every cubic metre of water treated, GHc 0.15 was spent, with the cost of chemicals constituting 60 per cent.

Compared to the Barekese catchment area, he said, where the water had a 200 Hounsfield unit (HU), the Konongo and Obuasi areas had over 5000 HU in the water, due mainly to illegal mining activities, thereby heightening the need for chemical use by the water company in its water production.

‘The pollution compels the water company to keep increasing the volumes of chemicals used in purifying the water,’ Mr. Tetteh emphasised.

According to the Quality Assurance Officer, the slashing and burning of bushes annually for farming purposes around the catchment areas exposed the water bodies to the vagaries of the sunshine, which affected the quality of the water.

‘Another factor is that with the burning of bushes, running water during rainfall transports the ashes directly into these water bodies,’ he said.

‘The running water also carries biocides (chemical fertilizers) used on farms into the water bodies, thus increasing the nutrient levels of the water.’

He explained that this also created the need for increased chemical use in water production, thus increasing the cost of water production.

The situation, he said, threatened Ghana’s goal to achieve a universal coverage of clean water supply to citizens by 2025.

That was why, he explained, the GWCL kept sensitising communities in the catchment areas on the water bodies to desist from such bad activities, which threatened sustainable water delivery in the country.

The Water Resources Commission (WRC) in Ashanti Region is also implementing a programme of community involvement in the protection of the water bodies in the face of the growing incidence of Climate Change.

Mrs. Abena Dufie Wiredu Bremang, the Pra Basin Officer of the WRC, said this programme had been making some impact at Penten, one of the closest communities to the Offin River, near Kodie in the Kwabre East District.

Nana Attah Kofi, Regent of Penten, said his Community had embraced the programme to protect the water body because they believed the pollution would eventually affect sustainable water delivery to them.

‘It is our own future we are fighting for: and so we have given the programme our full backing, and are ready to sanction anyone who flouts directives concerning water pollution,’ he said.


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