Lack of potable water has compelled residents of three communities in the East Gonja District of the Northern Region to compete with animals for drinking water from two dugouts in their communities.
Residents of Vogyili, Sakpelua and Kpinchilla, about 21 kilometres away from Tamale, depend on the unsafe water from the dugout dams located at Kpinchilla and Sakpelua, which also serve as sources of drinking water for their livestock.
It was a sorrowful sight as journalist witnessed children fetching the unsafe water from the Kpinchilla dugout and drinking it directly without purifying it, whiles animals were also on the opposite end of the dam drinking.
Drinking of the unsafe water from the dugouts that are filled with surface and running water from the fields are highly contaminated with animals and human faeces, resulting in skin diseases and sometimes stomach upset amongst residents.
The water table in the three communities is so low that drilling boreholes have not yielded water leading to the communities relying solely on dugouts.
Attempts by non-governmental organisations such as the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) and the Presbyterian Farmers’ Training and Child Development Programme (PFT – CDP) to extend pipe water to the communities were unsuccessful because of the estimated cost of the project pegged at million cedis.
At a forum to mark this year’s World Water Day at Kpinchilla on Tuesday, residents of the three communities took to prayers to seek divine intervention in addressing the water problem in their communities.
The forum was organised by PFT – CDP with support from CCFC to deliberate on ways of addressing the water problem in the three communities
Kunglana (Chief) of Kpinchilla, Kojo Kpema made an appeal to the government to come to their aid saying the dugouts would soon run dry as the population (about 2000) depending on them was high.
He said the only time they enjoyed some level of clean water was the rainy season when they harvested rainwater but added that they did not have big containers to store the rain water whiles majority of the houses were roofed with thatch, which was not suitable for rain-water harvesting.
Madam Bibi Alhassan, a resident of Kpanchilla also appealed to government to expand the dug-outs to store enough water to serve the residents during the dry season as well as fence the dams to prevent animals from drinking from them.
Others also appealed for the dams to be expanded to help them to irrigate the farms during the dry season whiles a more standard source of drinking water was provided for them.
Country Director of CCFC, George Baiden, whose speech was read on his behalf, advised residents to plant trees around the dams to help prevent direct evaporation and erosion of the edges.