Experts advocate measures to protect water bodies, access to potable water

By Stephen Asante

Accra, Dec. 08, GNA – Stakeholders in the water management and distribution sector have stressed the need for the nation to pursue proactive measures to halt further destruction of water bodies in the country.

They described as unfortunate the impunity with which water bodies had been polluted through unsupervised human activities over the years, citing illegal small- scale (galamsey) mining, sand winning, farming activities, discharge of faecal waste into the water bodies, amongst others.

Professor Anthony Amoah, Dean, School of Sustainable Development of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD), said the presence of E. coli (a type of coliform bacteria) and other pathogens in the drinking water consumed by the people, was as a result of those bad practices.

“The quality of our freshwater (groundwater and surface water) is deteriorating at an alarming rate,” he stated, referencing some research work by other scientists which testified to this assertion.

“For example, Monney and Antwi-Agyei (2018) have shown with national data that 44 per cent (of 919) improved drinking water sources had detectable E. coli, and 62 per cent of household drinking water samples (of 2, 157) contained E. coli,” the Dean quoted.

Speaking at a water policy workshop in Accra, organised by the Environment and Natural Resource Research Initiative (ENRRI), one of the 15 research centres of the Environment for Development (EfD), he observed that access to water was a human right.

Therefore, it was appropriate to build the requisite infrastructure, and step up the needed education to enhance access to safe and quality drinking water for the people.

The workshop deliberated on policy discussions as related to turbidity challenges, access to safe water, payment of bills and equity.

The participants were drawn from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), UESD, University of Ghana (UG), Legon, Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, and other research institutions.

Prof. Amoah, a Research Fellow of the EfD, said the workshop aligned with the ENRRI’s mandate to regularly organise policy engagement workshops to bring on board stakeholders on pressing issues in natural resource management in Ghana.

He assured that researchers of the Initiative were committed to brainstorming with other experts to foster good policies for the protection of natural resources in the country.

Dr. Benjamin Amoah, Senior Lecturer, Finance Department of the Ghana Business School, UG, called for stiffer punishment for those who polluted water bodies in the country.

Dr. Michael Appiah Karikari, Lecturer, UESD, suggested the need to implement a ‘one household, one mechanized borehole’ project to facilitate access to safe drinking water for Ghanaians.

Dr. Edmund Hagan, Senior Lecturer, Methodist University, reiterated the relevance of such workshops to bring to the fore the state of water bodies in the country and how best they could be protected and managed for posterity sake.

Mr. Francis Sarpong Boakye, General Manager in-charge of Bottling, Ghana Water Company Limited, called for an attitudinal change on the part of the citizenry regarding how water bodies were polluted.