The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says the surest way to save Ghana from a water crisis is to sustain the fight against illegal mining, also known as galamsey.
Communications Manager of the Company, Stanley Martey said although some water bodies have seen a slight improvement, the company’s treatment plants are still unable to extract water from them for treatment and consumption due to the high levels of pollution.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Mr Martey said, “If we do not stop galamsey which is destroying the water bodies, then we face an imminent water crisis.”
The GWCL has announced the rationing of water in Accra, Tema and parts of the Western region as a result of water shortage in the country’s river bodies.
Although the shortage is a perennial problem due to the dry season, the Company has blamed the situation on the felling of trees along river banks and other water bodies, exposing them to the vagaries of the weather and precipitating their drying up.
Government’s fight against illegal mining through Operation Vanguard seems to be yielding some results, but Mr Martey says a year is not enough and that the fight must be sustained.
“We don’t have to stop the fight against galamsey, we can’t use a year to fight it, it has to be continuous until we eradicate it entirely. Other than that we are going to face serious challenges,” he said.
The Black Volta in the Upper West, he indicated, has been destroyed by the activities of illegal miners.
Mr Martey said in the Northern Region, because the level of the Nawuni River is down, some residents have taken advantage of that and are winning sand in the river making the water more turbid.
“So we are unable to extract enough for production and even when we extract, we lose more than 50 percent of the water,” he said.
The situation, he said, is the same in the south. In the Western region where the GWCL extracts water from the River Pra, the low level of water in the river has caused seawater intrusion.
So, instead of extracting water from the Aboase treatment plant, the Company is forced to go to Abosomase.
But even there, “galamsey operators have taken over that area so the little water there is also now turbid, so extracting for treatment is also difficult,” Mr Martey lamented.
He said although the GWCL is taking drastic measures at ensuring that the country still has treated water for consumption, the role citizens must play in ensuring that the right things are done cannot be underestimated.
In the short term, however, Mr Martey said the water rationing will continue until there is enough water for the GWCL to process for supply.
And since this year’s dry is projected to go on until March, the country may need to pray for early rains.