By: Tabitha Kugbonu | Voltaonlinegh |
The decline in water quality endangers the health of humans as well as the ecosystem. Clean drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation plays important roles in maintaining health and is also vital for family well-being – controlling of enteric diseases and boosting child health.
The Goal No. 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) states that, “As a country, we need to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” indicating that access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a human right issue yet still some districts in Ghana are still finding it difficult to get safe water.
Although Ghana was able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on access to improved sanitation, the water resource is gradually becoming a scarce commodity in Ghana.
According to the Global Water Project forecast, six African countries including Ghana may experience water scarcity by 2025 mainly due to the expected rate of growth in population.
Former Minister of Lands and Natural Resource and currently the Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu at the launch of Water for Rural Africa (WRA), a non-governmental organisation interested in finding a lasting solution to thousands of Ghanaians in dire need of access to potable drinking water on daily basis, indicated that there was the likelihood of Ghana importing water from other countries if measures were not put in place.
Currently, people travel long distances in order to have access to water. The people of South Tongu District in the Volta Region are among those people battling acute water shortage due to increase in population in the district.
South Tongu District
The district lies with the wet semi-equatorial and dry equatorial climatic zones, which are very good for livestock production and majority of residents in the district are known to be farmers and traders. It has Sogakope as its capital.
The main river in the district is the Volta Lake which runs along its western border. However, there are several streams including Chinni and Tordzi.
The district shares boundaries with Central Tongu, Akatsi South, and Anloga districts.
During the 2010 population census, it was revealed that, the entire population of residents in the district was 87,950 and out of that, women constituted 47, 931 while the men were 40,019.
Good drinking water remains one major challenge residents in the district face making life unbearable for school children as well as women who struggle for water.
The affected areas in the district include Kpotame, Agorgbe, Fievie, Gonu, Agorkpo, Adutor and its surrounding areas. Though residents in these areas keep appealing to authorities for solution, their appeals have yielded no result.
Residents are forced to wake up in the middle of the night to fetch water from taps for storage which causes a lot of discomfort.
For others, they have no other alternative than to rely on wells, buy raw water from the river supplied by tricycle riders for domestic consumption which affects the health of the people.
Appeal for Water
Some school children expressed worry over the negative impact the water problem was having on them.
One of them, Grace Aglebe said the water challenge was affecting her study time and having a toll on the finances of her parents.
“I’m a pupil of Sogakope JHS A and I’m in Form 1. This is the time for me to start preparing myself for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) but I have to wake up in the middle of the night like 1am to fetch water till day break and this doesn’t give me enough time to rest well and prepare for school the following day and it’s affecting my performance in class.”
“We are also left with no other way than to fetch water from well and the water in there is hard so in the absence of the tap water, we buy sachet water for our domestic activities causing financial loss to my parents and it’s about time government did something about the situation,” she added.
A resident of Agorkpo New Town named Akos Attah also complained about the situation and called for help.
“I’m a nursing mother and my child is about two months old. I have to buy water from these vendors who distribute water with tricycles and sometimes if they don’t come early, I have to wait for them until they come before I can get access to water to be used in the house. So I’m therefore pleading with management of the District Assembly to find remedy to this situation.”
Some workers at Tefle-Agorgbe complained of similar challenges saying, we buy a gallon of water at a cost of Ghc 1 which is very, very expensive.”
Water Problem Explained
In reaction, the Management of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) South Tongu branch disclosed that the issue of water has to do with the increase in population of the district.
According to them, there is the need for expansion of the pipelines as the current 6-inch pipeline is not enough to transmit water to the increased population.
They said plans are underway for works to commence on the pipeline to end the water rationing which is aimed at ensuring equal access to potable water for the available consuming populace.
But they said they are hoping if the Sogakope-Lome Trans-Boundary Water Supply Project which aims at transferring water from the Volta River in Ghana (using Sogakope as the abstraction point) to Lome in Togo and serving all communities located along the Sogakope-Lome corridor comes to reality, the water needs of the people will be solved.
Some months back, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Korbla Mensah Woyome, expressed worry over the persistent water problem in the South Tongu District saying, he made several attempts including writing proposals to government for a lasting solution without success.
Hon. Woyome believed the problem persists because of a reduction in the capacity of flow of water at the Agordome Water Plant established in 1998 coupled with an increase in population of the communities that the plant is expected to serve.
He said the same Agordome Water Plant supplies water to communities in Anloga District and Keta Municipality and to serve every community, the water is being rationed.
Potable water is a critical aspect of our lives and development as a country because it frees a number of people from water-borne diseases such as Cholera, Diarrhoea etc.
Let us join hands to save the situation and also make collective efforts to catapult us to the realisation of our freedom with respect to potable water availability.