Ground water bearing brunt of illegal mining activities

A visit to some communities and water bodies, by Water and Sanitation Journalists Network in the Western Region has revealed that more work needs to be done in the water sector to advance water quality and accessibility.

According to experts and community leaders, apart from low fish catch in the Pra Ankobra, Win and Butrua rivers, where the team visited, it was also discovered that illegal mining activities were still persistent and had a toll on underground water as well.

At Daboase, some community members around the Cromwell Hill enclave complained of water scarcity, despite Ghana Water company having an intake point in the area.

Nana Kwesi Egyir III, the Chief of Beposo bemoaned how the Pra has become only a white elephant since indigenes now had to rely on cold-stored fish and sachet water.

He said, “the Pra in the past was everything…we got lots of fish from it and used the water for every domestic activity but now the water is nothing to compare with.”

Samuel Ackah, a volunteer of Hen Mpoanu and Badu Adjei Manslowa community leader at Ankobra, expressed similar Sentiments of how water bodies were gradually becoming lifeless in communities.

The community bounded by the sea and the Ankobra river, still had to grapple with issues of quality sources of water.

The community which now sourced water from an infested algae borehole was therefore calling for assistance.

Mr Henry Asangbah, the Western Regional Director of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, said the Agency was expanding its operations to get more communities’ clean water.

“Our efforts though hampered by galamsey activities…yet we are not relenting…now we have to treat our borehole and our water systems, meaning a lot more money is needed,” he added.

He noted that the Agency hoped to make water accessible to every house hold in line with the agenda 2030.

Francis Acquah-Swanzy, Water Resources Commission said the use of ground water though initially not harmful, issues with illegal mining was affecting the PH level.

A visit to Tretremu, a community near Tarkwa, revealed that village boreholes had always been safe.

“But at one such borehole in the community, the experts said, “physical parameters that we just took, we are reading pH of between 7.7 is neutral and particle conductivity of 0.3 0.356 while turbidity is 10.

Mr Acquah-Swanzy said there were areas where manganese and iron could also be found in underground water which he noted raised the challenge of treatment cost.

Meanwhile, the Region had most of the borehole unregistered or without license from the Water Resources Commission.

He said though there were laws governing the drilling and ground water development regulations, operators had faulted in their operations .

For example,” a geologist should always be part of the drilling, to site and educate on layers and the kind of machines or mechanization that could be done.”

He said, “we are going to do monitoring and then we will be able to weed out all such operators in the Western Region, the majority of them do not have licenses”.

Source: GNA

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