Following Citi FM’s continuous coverage of the seeming nationwide water crisis, with Nsawam being the worst affected, the Ghana Water Company Limited and Parliament’s Select Committee on Water Resources Works and Housing have been kept on their toes.
Residents of Nsawam particularly are bearing the brunt of the drying up of the Densu river, as they now share water with animals.
Health officials have warned of an imminent epidemic if nothing drastic is done immediately.
But why are all these happening now? The facts below may give you a better picture.
- Worst affected areas: Nsawam Adoagyiri, the Nkwanta North District, Kulungungu in the Upper East region, Ho, some coastal sections of the Western Region and Ningo Prampram (students bathing sea water)
2. Water bodies affected: River Densu, the White Volta, River Pra, River Ayensu, and River Brimsu
- The Densu river with a maximum capacity of 17 meters has gone below its minimum of two meters.
- The Densu river is now filled with silt and one can even walk on the dry ground in the river bed.
3. Causes: The increasing weather temperatures, illegal mining (Galamsey), deforestation, general pollution, the general non-maintenance of water bodies and government neglect.
- A climatologist with the University of Ghana, Dr. Kwadwo Owusu, explained that this predicted drought is as a result of the effects of climate globally and a weather event known as “El Niño”.
- The Meteorological Service says government did not plan for this. “Government should have taken this seriously and planned appropriately for it.”
- Dr Owusu also indicated government should have been planning for droughts and not food.
4. Reliefs in place: Tanker services and boreholes to cater for affected communities. NADMO and National Security interventions are being put in place along with the dredging of rivers.
5. Results of shortage: There is the risk of cholera, affected residents ingesting contaminated water, school disruptions, risk of possible food shortage.
- Vegetable farmers at Kulungungu in the Pusiga District of the Upper East Region currently risk losing crops over drying of the White Volta.
- Residents of Nsawam Adoagyiri have no choice but to either walk or drive several miles just to get to the bank of the tributary of the Densu river to fetch water and school children have to abandon classes early in the morning to fetch water.
- Students in Ningo Prampram are also reportedly bathing sea water due to shortages.
6. Projected to worsen: Ghana is in the midst of the strongest El Nino cycle on record with rising temperatures.
- 90% of Ghana’s agriculture is dependent on rainfall. This means any reduction in rainfall as is being predicted will have dire consequences for the over 40% percent of Ghanaians involved in agricultural activities with about 90% of those being small holder farmers.
The Deputy Minister of Agric, Dr. Alhassan Yakubu has said, “Our crop production is directly dependent on seasonal rainfall on an annual basis so any disruption of our national rainfall in any particular year will definitely hit our crop production.”
The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has said they require some $2 billion capital injection to achieve 100% water coverage for all Ghanaians by the year 2025.
The (GWCL) also said between 2013 and 2015, the company has improved access to water by 13% and other ongoing projects valued at over 6 million dollars, were expected to also improve access to water by 10%.
According to the United Nations, water use has grown by more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century