Experts at the Ghana Water Company have warned that the country risks importing water for consumption unless illegal mining activities stop.
As the country joins the rest of the world to mark the WHO World Water Day, the experts say the spate of water pollution in Ghana is approaching alarming levels.
According to the Accra West Regional Director of the Ghana Water Company, Ing Peter Deveer, illegal mining activities (galamsey) has badly polluted water bodies in the country resulting in the excessive cost of treatment.
Mr. Deveer made the revelations on the sidelines of a community dialogue programme at Chorkor in Accra.
World Water Day, which is marked on March 22 every year, is about taking action to tackle the water crisis.
Today, there are over 663 million people worldwide living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.
This year’s theme, ‘Why waste water?’ is in support of SDG 6.3 on improving water quality and reducing, treating and reusing wastewater.
Globally, the vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting drinking and bathing and irrigation and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.
Citing a report on the spate of water pollution in the country, Ing Deveer told Joy News, “the rate at which things are going we could be importing water in the next ten to 20 years.”
Meanwhile, researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has said Ghana has no problem with water sources, however, potable water sources are diminishing at such a fast rate that the country faces a looming water crisis by the year 2030 if conditions continue to persist.
Scarier is the fact that there would be no treatable water source, either surface or ground water by 2030, should the rate at which the country’s water sources are being polluted continue, the Water Research Institute (WRI) of CSIR warns further.
Water purification challenges
Last year, Director of Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) called for a review of the country’s water purification system, revealing that the current system fails to remove harmful toxins produced by algae in freshwater sources.
Dr Joseph Addo Ampofo said although the current water purification mechanism by the Ghana Water Company meets the WHO standards, it fails to clean hazardous planktons in Ghana’s water sources.
“If you look at the Weija water for instance, gradually the water is increasing in blue-green algae. With such waters, if you want to treat and drink, you must also take into consideration removal of the algae because the algae toxins can cause kidney problems, liver problems, nervous system problems, heart problems.
Photo: The Weija dam contains high levels of algae, says Dr Ampofo
“Because we do not have that technology with our water treatment now, it means if there are a lot of algae in the water from a treatment point. You will be drinking these toxins and that is the danger we are facing now,” he said.