In the wake of the recent directive by the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo to remove all galamseyers (illegal miners) from our water bodies, and in view of the government’s commitment to achieve the SDG 6 (water for all by 2030), the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah began a 3 day working visit to the Eastern and Ashanti Regions to access the conditions of water treatment plants in some selected places and also to obtain first-hand information on the devastating impact of activities of galamsey on water bodies.
On Monday 17th May, 2021 being day one of the tour, the sector Minister together with the Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Seth Kwame Acheampong and other high ranking officials from the Sanitation and Water Resources, the Ghana Water Company Limited, the Water Resources Commission and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, paid a courtesy call on the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panyin at his place in Kibi.
The Sector Minister, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, re-emphasized government’s resolve to address the water challenges and indicated it would not back down on the fight to safeguard our water resources.
The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panyin in his address to the delegation said, “In life’s support system, water is key for survival and therefore protecting our water bodies must of necessity lead our quest for better societies.”
He added, “we are better off as Ghanaians than being individuals” to buttress the point that, the fight for our water bodies is collective business, in that, good policies alone do not change societies, but a change in attitude towards laws, nature and our practices would ultimately lead to better societies.
Visits to the Water Treatment Plants:
At the Kibi Water Treatment System, it was observed that water losses had improved from an initial 40% loss to 5% loss when treated, largely due to the clean nature (turbidity is at 11) of the Birim River at the intake point. As a result, the facility which has capacity to provide 2000m³ of water per day, is supplying in excess of the demand for water in Kibi.
However, at the Bunso treatment plant, turbidity was fluctuating between 1900 (in the morning) and around 330 (in the afternoon). The cause is an observed night-time galamsey activities on the Birim River at Bunso. This has made water treatment a daunting task and urgent responses are needed to salvage both our water resources and our Treatment Systems.
At the Osino intake point, the situation was worse. Galamseyers have successfully diverted the Birim River to create artificial ponds for their activities – some 20m away from intake point. This has resulted in many times, the closure of the treatment plants due to wear and tear of machines.
Water losses here range from between 60% and 80%.
The facts on ground, as reviewed by the minister strengthens the call for immediate seizure of all unregulated mining activities on our water bodies because the fight for water is a fight to preserve the core of our very existence.