Stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector (WASH) have hinted the Ghana is likely to miss out on the Sustainable Development Goal 6, if consented efforts are not made to address the increasing rate of water pollution and destructions.
According to them the upsurge in: illegal mining, application of pesticides, fertilisers and insecticides, dumping of refuse in and along water bodies is a worry which requires multi-sectorial approach to nipped it.
The stakeholders made this known at a day’s engagement with the media on WASH and Water Resource Management (WRM) in Ghana last Friday, at the Coconut Groove Regency Hotel in Accra.
The media engagement forms part of the Watershed Program is a strategic partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo, working with their local partners in Ghana
Speaking at the WASH and WRM media engagement to discuss the ways to protect Ghana’s water resources, the Country Director for IRC-Ghana, the lead implementing agency of the Watershed Project in Ghana, Mrs. Vida Duti urged the stakeholders to approach water resource management as a cross-sectorial issue, since activities in agriculture, lumbering, mining, waste disposal, and open defecation, all affect the survival and quality of water in the river basins.
“If we do not protect the sources of raw water bodies, one of two things will happen: either we do not get water to drink at all, or we get water treated at an unsustainable cost,” the Country Director for IRC-Ghana noted.
She asked ‘without water, how can you be able to deliver water to everyone as the SDGs Goal 6 demand of us, which has it theme “leaving no one behind in the provision of clean water”.
If we, the private sector stakeholders, governmental organisations as well as the citizenry fail to address this eminent problem confronting us, there will soon be no water to be supply let alone to sustain it. Mrs. Duti warned.
She is therefore calling for an improvement in the governance and management of at the community levels in order to protect water sources.
A Principal Officer of the Water Resources Commission (WRC) Dr. Mawuli Lumor has added his voice to numerous call central governments to increase budgetary allocation to the WASH sector.
According to him inadequate financing of the sector is one of the major treat to the achievement of the SDG 6.
He has therefore proposed that the state create a dedicated financing instrument for the management of its water resources.
Dr. Lumor explained the dedicated financial source was necessary for the country to manage its water resources sustainably and be able to deliver on the SDGs 6 of leaving no one behind in the provision of clean water.
The WRC Principal Officer applauded government’s action against water pollution by illegal miners which he claimed has yielded results.
He explained further that even though the government’s action against water pollution where the military cum other state officials have been stationed at some strategic points along water river basins are laudable but was quick to add that strategy adopted by government is not sustainable looking at the huge cost involve in keeping the military task force around the river basins.
“Keeping the military task force around the river basins is an expensive business, so, it is important to have dedicated financing, either from a new tax measure or deducting a portion of mining royalties/revenue for the protection of river basins,” he noted.
Poor attitude towards Wetlands
The Project Coordinator for the Hope for Future Generation (HFFG), a non-governmental organization based in Tarkwa in the Western Region, Ms. Mercy Amokwadoh, has expressed discontent about the way people are turning wetlands into refuse damps.
According to her, aside the dumping of refuse in wetlands areas, some people are also building in such zones. These unpardonable acts being committed by some residents living around wetlands she explained was due to lack of basic understanding of water issues and the importance of wetlands.
It also emerged that most people living around water bodies do not see water as resources which needed to be protected and preserved. She stated.
Ms Amokwadoh called for attitudinal change among Ghanaians in terms of WASH, stressing that, if everyone does the right thing, the problems or poor water, sanitation and hygiene issues would be resolved and Ghana would grow.
According to the organisers of the media engagement, the event served as a venue for stakeholders to present evidence on key issues of WASH and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) to inform dialogue – from the Watershed project and other allied organisations as well as to advocate for improvement in WASH and IWRM in Ghana.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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