World Water Day Marked in Ghana
Hon. Kofi Adda, Minister of Water and Sanitaion on Thursday called on Ghanaians to reflect on the state of water bodies and take practical actions to reforest degraded riverbanks. He also encouraged Ghanaians to restore lost wetlands to promote recession agriculture to improve livelihoods.
In a speech delivered on his behalf at Manhean Fish market in the Ngleshie Amanfro in the Ga South Municipal Assembly to mark 2018 World Water Day (WWD), he said water played a crucial role in all aspects of human life yet some activities were threating the resource.
In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly established the World Water Day to be celebrated every year on the 22nd of March. The day is a unique occasion to remind all on concrete efforts to provide clean drinking water and increase awareness worldwide of the problems and the solutions.
In Ghana, close to six million people nearly 22 percent rely on surface water to meet their daily water needs, leaving them vulnerable to water-related illness and diseases, while 67 percent of Ghanaians lack access to improved sanitation or are entire without toilet facilities.
Mr Adda said, “Freshwater is threatened by its uneven distribution in time and space, rapid urbanisation without adhering to physical/land use plans or zoning principles, pollution from illegal mining.
“Others are the inappropriate disposal of domestic and industrial solid and liquid waste, and pressure due to climate change and variability, which makes the natural flow of river and stream channels highly variable, affecting water availability,”
Speaking on this year’s WWD theme, “Nature for Water‘ the Minister urged all to prevent further damage to sensitive ecosystems and the aquatic environment and provide an opportunity for water managers, practitioners, users and decision-makers to explore nature-based solutions to the water challenges facing the 21st century.
He said the government had set water resource management and use as one of its topmost priority through programmes including the National Water Policy and the Sector Strategic Development Plan. He stressed on the need to promote partnerships between the public and private sectors for the protection and conservation of water resources through the use of cleaner and efficient technologies, effective waste, management and sound land management and agricultural practices; and the importance of adopting sustainable practices that would avoid damage to critical natural capital and irreversible ecological processes.
“I am reliably informed that there are on-going initiatives to demonstrate natural Infrastructure as ‘nature-based solution’ for climate change adaptation and sustainable development through developing knowledge on how to use portfolios of built ’grey’ water infrastructure and natural ’green’ infrastructure for poverty reduction, water-energy-food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate resilience,” he noted.
He said the impact of climate change effects was an emerging area that stakeholders in the sector needed to foster partnerships and cooperation to adapt and promote simple but important water conservation and utilisation techniques and natural infrastructure towards addressing the vagaries of climate change.
Mr Stephen Joseph Nyani, Ga south Municipal Chief Executive said nature could only continue to deliver its services where ecosystems were healthy and functioning well if the resource was protected. “We use and divert water, we must ensure that ecosystems receive the water they need. Nature is both the source of our water and a water user. Where this is not recognised, biodiversity is harmed and people lose the multiple benefits nature provides. Integral to water security, therefore, is ‘water for nature and nature for water,” he noted.
Dr Clifford Brimah, Managing Direct of Ghana Water Company Limited said the pollution of water bodies especially at the intake point was impacting negatively on their operations. “For instance, before the galamsey menace one of the water stations in Western region, was using three bags of aluminium sulphate but now due to the pollution, they are using 12 bags to do same treatment. We are spending more money to treat water as it makes water production expensive”, he said.
At the event pupils from Joy Academy performed a sketch to show that the temperature of the Weija River was polluted and called on authorities to reduce the pollution.