Climate change causes acute water shortage in Ghana

Accra, Feb 18 (IANS) Parts of Ghana are reeling under acute water shortage as taps have stopped running and raw water sources are drying up.

A combination of drought and illegal mining activities as well as unsafe environmental practices has conspired to make raw water sources unproductive for a country that seeks to achieve universal coverage by 2025, Xinhua reported.

Residents of Nsawam Adoagyiri, about 50 km north-west of the capital, are battling an acute water shortage as the Densu river, the source of raw water to serve the communities, has dried up.

Farming activities by the residents along the banks, lumbering and bush burning have been cited as factors leading to the shortage of raw water sources in the community and other areas in Ghana.

It is common to see schoolchildren and women carrying different receptacles in search of water.

Residents have to depend on an outlet of the Densu river which they fetch for cooking and drinking.

Besides Nsawam, portions around Ho, 156 km north-east of the capital, have also been battling water shortages since the beginning of the year, while parts of the coastal western region are also facing similar challenges.

There is already severe drought in the country as there have not been any rains since November last year.

“Rivers are our main sources of raw material and so if these rivers dry up, there is nothing we can do but to wait till they get filled up again,” Stanley Martey, communications manager of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), told Xinhua over the phone.

He alluded to illegal mining and other human activities such as farming along the river banks, bush burning and general pollution as the causes of the drying up of the water bodies.

“You are aware that the current water shortage is due to drought and climate change factors,” the communication manager added.

Martey said the GWCL was making preparations to drill boreholes in communities affected most by the water shortage.

“This is in addition to the 1,000 boreholes project by the Chinese government which is also about to commence soon,” he added.

In addition, he said the water company had started dredging works in river beds that had been silted due to many human activities in readiness for the raining season, while tree planting was about to commence along rivers which have their vegetative cover depleted.

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