May 28, 2022

Western region: Galamsey activities, a threat to underground water – WRC Ankobra Basin officer

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The Ankobra Basin Officer for the Water Resources Commission in the western region, Francis Acquah-Swanzy, has indicated that galamsey activities in some part of the western region is threatening the quality of the use of groundwater which was initially safe.

He explained that the boreholes at the villages had always been safe, however, there are areas where manganese and iron could be found in underground water, raising alarm to their usage as well as the challenge of treatment cost.

Mr. Francis Acquah-Swanzy made the revelation when members of Ghana WASH Journalists Network (GWJN), as part of activities to mark the 2022 World Water Day celebration visited the water bodies within the Ankobra Basin in the western region.

The theme for this year’s World Water Day celebration is, Groundwater: making invisible visible.

The field visit which was supported by WaterAid Ghana and Roddenberry Foundation Global Fund was to assess the state of some major water bodies.

Quality of ground water in some parts of the Western Region bounding Pra and Ankobra rivers are also threatened by illegal mining activities.

Community members dotted along these rivers complained about the dire situation and called for urgent steps to address the challenges in the water sector of the economy.

At Daboase in the Wassa East District, some community members around the Cromwell Hill enclave, complained of water scarcity, despite the present of Ghana Water Company intake point in the area.

The Chief of Beposo in the Shama District, Nana Kwesi Egyir III, complained how River Pra had become only a ‘white elephant’ and the community relied on cold store fish and packaged water.

He said, “In the past, Pra was everything…we get lots of fish from it and used the water for every domestic activity, but, now, the water quality is gone.”

Presently, apart from low fish catch in the Pra, Ankobra, Whin and Buture rivers, the journalists again discovered that illegal mining activities were still persistent and having a toll on underground water.

Residents at Ewusiejoe, a suburb of Ahanta West swimming and washing in Butere river
Residents at Ewusiejoe, a suburb of Ahanta West swimming and washing in Butere river

The visit again revealed more work need to be done to promote good water quality and access in the near future.

A volunteer of Hen Mpo Ano, an advocacy group, Mr Samuel Ackah and Badu Adjei Manslowa, a community leader at Ankobra expressed similar sentiment of how water bodies were gradually becoming lifeless in communities.

Hand dug well at Ankobra
Hand dug well at Ankobra

The community bounded by the sea and Ankobra also had to grapple with sources of quality water as their boreholes are infested algae.

Commenting on the situation, the Western Regional Director of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, Mr. Henry Asangbah, said his team are expanding their operations to get more communities portable water.

He, however, added “Our efforts though hampered by galamsey activities…yet we are not relenting…now we have to treat our boreholes and our water systems and that means a lot more money.”

Mr. Asangbah said, the agency hoped to make water accessible to every household in line with agenda 2030 which aimed at promoting clean water and sanitation.

 

Source: Ghananest.com/Matthew Dadzie


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