A Rocha Ghana has warned that if proper measures are not put in place to regulate the drilling of boreholes and other forms of underground water, there will be dire consequences in the near future, as access to water would be greatly affected.
According to A Rocha Ghana, the practice where people out of their own volition decide to drill underground water without recourse to due process could lead to a situation where there would be limited access to water since almost all available areas may be covered.
Due to the lack of access to regular flow of water from the Ghana Water Company Limited and other challenges where a number of households do not have access to safe drinking water, a lot of residents particularly those in the Ashanti Region say they have been compelled to drill their own source of water.
Areas such as Ejisu, Fumesua, and other adjoining communities are among places where many households drill to have a source of water.
Many people who spoke to Citi News however noted that they do not know whether persons they contract have the requisite expertise to ensure what they provide is up to the required standard.
“Since we were facing challenges with respect to access to water, we had no other option than to get someone to drill the well for us. We later converted it to a borehole where people pay to buy from us. We don’t know if due process was followed,” a resident of Fumesua told Citi News.
Experts have thus called on stakeholders to put adequate measures in place to ensure the right processes are followed.
Speaking to Citi News on world water day celebration under the theme “Underground water; making the invisible visible,” the Programmes Manager for A Rocha Ghana, Prosper Kwame Antwi stated that unregulated drilling also put the lives of such water consumers at risk as the water may not pass the test for human consumption.
According to him, not every groundwater is safe for drinking as recent human activities such as the use of strong fertiliser for farming and toxic substances for mining activities have a negative impact on groundwater.
“Research done some years ago indicated that about 85% of groundwater in Ghana was safe for drinking but currently, do not specifically believe that is the same state. Why am I saying this? You see, when you take the entire country as a whole, we have different geological settings.”
“Over the years, there are other emerging issues and factors that are going a long way to impact the groundwater that we have. We can talk of pollution from agriculture as a result of the fertilizer. Also, when we look at mining and other related issues, the use of mercury and other hard metal concentrates sink into the groundwater aquifer, thereby polluting our groundwater. What is happening is that some of those, who do not have the permits, drill for their domestic use and so, we are not really able to track the user. We only but have some volume of groundwater and so if we are not able to understand and quantify the extraction, then we are getting to a situation where it will not be too much interesting for us as a nation”.
He also added that another factor that is affecting access to water is the instance where wetlands are being given out to developers to engage in various activities.
He has thus admonished traditional authorities to desist from such acts as, according to him, the phenomenon will have a long-term effect on access to safe drinking water.
“The wetlands that have been given out for building and other forms of construction purposes, end up changing the use of the land, so the normal situation where it will serve as filtration and sieving and protecting the entire catchment is lost.”
“For this reason, we will then tend to have a situation where the groundwater would be polluted. So we want to call on traditional authorities, so they play the vital roles in ensuring that our various resources are kept well”.
The Water Resources Commission has also cautioned persons who have intentions of drilling water sources to contact the appropriate authorities in order to ensure they get safe drinking.
“We want everybody to know that there are laws that are governing the groundwater resources and how we use these groundwater resources. If you want to extract groundwater resources, you need to contact the experts of a registered license driller,” Abena Dufie Wiredu Bremang, the head of Pra Basin and a Principal Basin Officer stated in an interview with Citi News.
She further called on the public to reduce the rate at which groundwater is polluted through human activities.