Galamsey Menace: Ghana may have to import water by fifteen years time – Research

Galamsey Menace: Ghana may have to import water by fifteen years time – Research

Ghana may have to import water in the next fifteen years to come. This is as a result of illegal mining activities being perpetrated by illegal miners. The situation moves the country far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6 which is to ensure that all countries supply their people with clean and affordable water by 2030.

According to a research conducted by the Chemistry Department of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana may have to import water in the next fifteen years as the main water sources continue to be heavily polluted with silt and heavy metal components as a result of illegal mining activities.

Professor DK Essuman, research lead at the department said the current water treatment systems that were bequeathed to the country by colonial masters can only pump, chlorinate, and distribute water which means that the issue of heavy metals contamination cannot be dealt with posing a major health risk to Ghanaians.

He has warned that the health impacts of drinking water from the main sources may force the country to import water from other countries.

Presently, Ghana Water Limited has been forced to cut down its supply to residents of Cape Coast and Elmina in the Central Region by 30 percent.

The supplier says the development is as a result of the inability of its pumps at Sekyere Hemang and Daboase in the Central and Western Regions respectively to pump water from the Pra River for treatment as a result of heavy silt caused by illegal mining activities.

The turbidity level of the river which serves keeps rising forcing the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to depart from coagulating water with aluminum sulphate popularly known as alum and now resorting to the usage of highly potent chemicals such as polymer resulting in high cost of treatment.

The company is also facing frequent change of pumps. Between 2008 and 2023 the company spent GHC 4 million on replacing pumps which should have masters 25 years.

Speaking to Metro News, Deputy Managing Director of the GWCL, Peter De-Veer expressed doubts about the country’s ability to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target of supplying affordable clean water to all Ghanaians by 2030.

Activities of illegal miners on tributaries such as the Gyimi River which lies on the border of the Upper Denkyira East and Akrofuom Districts in the Central and Ashanti regions respectively continue to contaminate the Pra River further as the Gyimi River joins the Offin River which also joins the River Pra before it is pumped at Sekyere Hemang.

Per the GWL’s data, the turbidity level of the River Pra has overwhelmingly risen between the later part of 2023 and 2024.

Illegal mining activities continue to be pervasive on and around the Offin River causing massive pollution of the river.

It is evident that there is a breakdown of law enforcement as some illegal mining staff who spoke off record and on conditions of anonymity stated that local police who patrol the area extort monies from them.

The Upper Denkyira East municipal security council even though has made some strides in the fight against illegal mining activities on and around the Offin River says it continues to face significant challenges including resistance from community members. The lack of cooperation between neighboring MDAs also make the fight difficult.

Municipal Chief Executive, Ebenezer Appiah suggests a more wholistic approach to the fight against illegal mining other than politicizing the fight.

Taking a cue from a recent successful ban on mining on the Offin River by traditional authorities of the area during the funeral of a prominent Chief, the MCE for Upper Denkyira East is convinced that the fight would be more successful when it is led by traditional leaders.

At a stakeholder engagement event organized by the Ghana Water Company Limited in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast, a mining expert who is also a traditional ruler Osagyefo Amanfo Edu called for regulations to be made to compel all miners to hold public hearings and make environmental impact assessments regardless of the size of the mining area.

Presently, the L.I 1652 only requires miners operating at a land size of 10 hectares to hold public hearings.

The traditional ruler is convinced that residents and traditional leaders will be well informed to report illegal mining activities when public hearings are held.

By: Akwasi Addo | | Ghana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *