Danger looms in Mepe-Fakpoe as residents drink from polluted dam

The residents of Mepe-Fakpoe, a farming community in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region, are left with no option but to drink from two polluted dams due to an acute water shortage. The acute-water shortage, according to residents, is draining their pockets and exposing them to possible water-borne diseases.  Even though the Volta Region is known for its abundance of water, particularly during the rainy season, Today can report that the water crisis in Mepe-Fakpoe has become so severe.

Today gathered that people who sell water have taken advantage of the situation and were selling a gallon of water in what is known as Kufuor gallon for GH¢ 1.00 to the residents.   The struggle for the scarce resource robs residents of productive man-hours as they sometimes spend most part of the day in search of water for domestic use.   The two dams, located at Domekope and Atigahkope, which are the only sources of water for a population of about 17,000 people dried up during the dry season, making residents walk 3km to Nyimor and Aklakpa rivers to access potable water.

A recent visit by Today to Mepe-Fakpoe revealed how most women hire the services of tricycles to the Aklakpa River which is in the area to draw water.   According to Mawusi Aziatroga, a resident in the area, she rents tricycle, popularly called ‘motorking,’ at the cost of GH¢20.00 for every trip.   She revealed that the tricycle normally carries two plastic drums and fourteen ‘Kufuor gallons’ of water. However, she added that if the load goes beyond the above number of gallons, she is required to pay some extra money in addition to the GH¢20. “We walk to Mepe Dadome, a neighbouring community, to rent the ‘motorking.’ We don’t have one in our village (Mepe-Fakpoe). We pay GH¢20.00 for every trip. We rent the tricycle twice a week so every week we spend more money to get water for our households,” Mawusi explained.

Other households in the community spend similar amount or more and those who cannot afford the cost of renting the ‘motorking’ trek on foot to and from the two polluted dams for water.  Another woman, Agnes Ametepe, lamented the health implications of sharing the water with stray animals.    “Stray animals like cattle, dogs urinate and defecate in these dams but what can we do. We wish a separate source of water could be created for the animals because this not healthy for us,” she said.   According to her, they have no means of treating the water before drinking or using it for other domestic purposes.

“Some people bring us nets to filter the water before use, but we don’t have them any more so when we fetch the water we drink it untreated. Only God protects us from contracting water-borne diseases,” she said.   Apart from the health implications of the water crisis, its economic burden has left many of the women penniless.   “It’s a big challenge for us because we sell our farm produce and spend everything on getting water for our families. When we ran out of money we carry the water on our heads.

“The dams are very far and anyone who is not used to doing it cannot access water on foot. Our husbands don’t care! Some of them don’t even know how we get money [to pay for the tricycle to get water,” Madam Ametepe bemoaned.   Meanwhile, in an interview with Today via telephone on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Constituency, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, described the situation as “worrying.” According to him, he initiated a short-term intervention to reduce half of the burden by way of renting a vehicle belonging to the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to supply pipe-borne water to the people of Mepe-Fakpoe and other six communities.

And though the MP admitted that his short-term measure was not adequate to address the problem, he assured residents of Mepe-Fakpoe that he was working closely with the government to give them a huge relief.   He told Today that Parliament has approved an additional funding for the construction of five-community water projects, which, he hoped, would solve the water situation in the area.

Headman of Mepe-Fakpoe, Mr Mawuli Gbeve, said the intervention of the MP has given them some respite, but stressed that they were not out of the woods yet.    He, therefore, appealed to the government and District Chief Executive of the North Tongu District Assembly, Mr Richard Collins Arku, to come to their aid by providing them with a pipe-borne water facility.   Mr Gbeve said efforts in the past to provide the people with a reliable source of water have not yielded positive results.

 

Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU, BACK FROM MEPE-FAKPOE, VOLTA REGION

Writer’s email: freeman.koryekpor@todaygh.com

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