Ground water at Pra, Ankobra under threat by galamsey

The quality of ground water in some parts of the Western Region along the Pra and Ankobra rivers is threatened by illegal mining activities.

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

These were revealed when Water and Sanitation Journalists Network in the Western Region toured some  communities, and water bodies  on Friday, aspart of  celebration  of  2022 World Water Day  on the theme “Groundwater: making  invisible visible.”

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.

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

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

The Chief of Beposo in the Shama District, Nana Kwesi Egyir III, complained how River Prahad 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 activities, but, now, the water quality is gone.” 

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. 

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

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

The Ankobra Basin Officer for the Water Resources Commission, Francis Acquah-Swanzy, told journalists thatthe use of ground water though initially not harmful,illegal mining was affecting the PH level.

At Tretremu, near Tarkwa, it was revealed that village boreholes had always been safe, however, Mr Acquah-Swanzy explained that, there were areas where manganese and iron could be found in underground water, raising the challenge of treatment cost. 

Meanwhile, the Basin Officer said the Western Region had most of the boreholes unregistered or without licence from the Water Resources Commission. 

He said “Though there are laws governing the drilling and groundwater development and regulations, operators had faltered in their operation. We are going to conduct monitoring exercises to weed out all such operators in the Western Region, majority of them who do not have licences.”


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