The scarcity of water during dry seasons in Ghana has become like an annual ritual where many communities especially in rural areas, sometimes have to fall on water bodies that are not clean for their household and other activities.
For the urban and peri – urban community, it means spending more than usual to get the same quantity of water which sometimes has safety issues per the sources. But for the rural community, it means no access to water at all if not from a source that may be shared sometimes with animals.
A consortium of organizations in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector in Tamale known as Savanna Integrated WASH Consortium says the ‘annual ritual’ of water crisis in Ghana can be a thing of the past if all stakeholders in the sector are proactive in their approach to the problem.
At the sidelines of a round-table discussion to look at the content of a Memorandum of Understanding among members for strategies to employ in implementing activities for a 3 year program, members shared critical views on why water crisis appear to be part of a country like Ghana that has a potential of harnessing its water bodies to sustain the people’s demands.
Program Manager for the Wuni Zaligu Development Association (WUZDA), the lead organization in the consortium, Mr. Abdul Karim Ziblim intimated that lack of adequate planning on the parts of both service providers and consumers is what hinders solution to the canker.
Mr. Abdul Karim said service providers like the Ghana Water Company Limited could consider investing more in water storage facilities to help store more water for use in times of drought.
He added that the company has to take up the responsibility of reorienting consumers’ minds on usage of water to minimize misuse; and according to him, this could be done in a public education form through the media and other community outreach channels.
The director for Urbanet, also a member of the consortium, Mr. Zakariah Abdul Rasheed however pointed out that the level of pollution to water bodies by human activity is a worrying situation. According to him, in the past, alternative water sources like dams and dug outs played major roles in the water sector but today, that is no more the case because of pollution.
For Mr. Abdul Rasheed, activities like defecating and dumping refuse in water bodies will always hamper the progress to the fight for abundance of potable water at all time in the Ghanaian system.
Ghana usually experiences water crisis once every year especially during the dry season due to one or more of the issues members on the consortium have risen.
However, the northern, upper east and west regions have twice or more of this crisis due to the long period of drought that occurs in these regions.
This year, there have been recurrent water shortages in the northern region, parts of the upper east region, the greater Accra region, Western and Central regions and parts of the Eastern region.
The Ghana Water Company Limited through its public relations officer, Stanley Martey, has been largely attributing the crux of the problem to how water bodies are being polluted with impunity thereby making it difficult for the company to treat water from source and make it clean enough for public consumption.
Some members of the Savanna Integrated WASH consortium pointed out the failure of working systems at the GWCL for the urban community and the CWSA to be one of the reasons the management of water crisis is a big deal.
They cited examples as lack of proper monitoring and billing on the part the GWCL, where a consumer pays either more or less water than they use and lack of sensitization to the public on utilization and conservation of water.
The Community Water and Sanitation Agencies also have issues of monitoring and ensuring proper maintenance of rural water facilities for their sustainability of lifetime.
The consortium also raised concerns on lack of patriotism among members of the public regarding fairness and truthfulness to the GWCL on the payment of bills.