Lee Adoboe TARKWA, Ghana (Xinhua) -- “In the
abundance of water, the fool is thirsty”, so says a song by
legendary musician Bob Marley.
But for Regina Fabile, 29, a native of
Bonsaso within the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Area in the Western
Region, 301 km from the national capital, Accra, it is not easy
to find fresh drinking water despite in the vicinity of a river.
Living close to River Bonsa, the
stream from which her community derived its name, it should have
been with very little effort for the mother of one to access
fresh water, especially this being a rural area where usually
water bodies are spared the vagaries of environmental pollution
prevalent in urban and industrial settings.
However, when Xinhua met her coming
from the river with a bucket of the dark-brown liquid she had
drawn from the river, Fabile said she only used the raw water
from the river to wash utensils.
She explained that the nature of the
water had over the years deteriorated to the point that even
washing with it had become a problem to many.
According to her, young people,
including her own brothers who engage in a poorly regulated
artisanal mining as well as poorly regulated mining by
multinational firms, have led to heavy contamination of the
previously fresh water source.
“From my childhood, this has been our
source of water for everything we needed water for in the
house, whether for cooking, drinking, washing, or bathing.
But now we have to get pipe-borne water at a cost for
cooking while we buy sachet water to drink because the water
in the Bonsa River has been polluted to this level,
especially over the past decade,” she lamented.
Tarkwa-Nsuaem District is about 85 km
north of the oil city of Takoradi, a bustling community in the
Western Region noted for its rich mineral resources.
Some of the multinational gold mining
firms like Anglogold and Goldfields Ghana have their major
mining sites here where lots of commercial activities like
retailing, wholesaling, hospitality, communication and many
other types of business thrive.
However, potable water is one of the
down-sides in especially the rural communities outside the
municipal capital, where irresponsible environmental practices
by mining firms and illegal mining are killing fresh water
According to Edgar Clottey, Production
Manager at the Bonsaso Treatment Plant of the Ghana Water
Company Limited, the main Bonsa River is noted for its high
turbidity as a result of illegal mining activities, leading to a
higher cost in water treatment for the people.
“The dirtier the water, the more
aluminum chloride we apply, which means a higher cost of
water treatment,” Clottey stated.
And beside the negative effect of the
poorly regulated small-scale and large-scale mining along the
river, Bonsaso refuse dumps, household toilets and bathrooms are
also located along the banks of the river.
Here, waste water flows and seeps
freely into the river whenever it rains while adults and
children bathe in the dirty water.
In communities such as Teberebe,
Dadwen, Kyekyerew, Israel, Mile-5, Nyamebekyere, Domeabra and
Mile 10.5, all in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Area, a majority
of wells which use solar pumping machines have broken down due
to poor maintenance.
“We had great relief when the borehole
was constructed in 2011 with the solar pump, as water is
stored in the overhead tank and the whole community got
water from there. But about two years ago, the solar pump
broke down and we have persistently appealed to the
municipal authorities to assist us in repairing it but to no
“So our women and children have to
resort to pumping the water with the hand and that takes so
long to fill one bucket,” said Richard Mensah, caretaker of
the community water system at Israel.
He appealed to the municipal
authorities to come to their aid to repair the solar pump for
them to alleviate the suffering women and children go through to
The Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal area is
one of the communities where the Ghana Watershed project, which
seeks to promote integration between Integrated Water Resource
Management and the delivery of Water Sanitation and Hygiene
(WASH) under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),
is taking place.
The project seeks to mobilize local
government authorities and the communities to develop their own
roadmaps towards managing water resources sustainably.
The implementation of the five-year
Watershed program is beginning to yield some initial dividends
as some of the communities are beginning to understand the need
to create designated refuse dumps where they confine the refuse
and prevent trash from entering their water bodies.
At Kofikrom, for example, the people
have dug a well from which they draw cleaner water than what
they draw from the river. They have also dug a pit latrine which
is waiting to be roofed for use to halt the menace of open
The people of Mile 10.5 , Domeabra,
Nyamebekyere and Israel have decided to mobilize resources
through the tokens community members pay for the water to be
used to maintain and/or repair the boreholes.