A Rocha Ghana and Partners Celeberate World Water Day 22nd March 2015

According to the United Nations fact sheet on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Ghana has made significant strides in providing access to improved water sources to 80% of the population, a little above the target set before end of 2015. This notwithstanding, the country’s need for water transcends well beyond the provision of improved water sources to the population. Water in Ghana is critical for energy, health, industry and also a key factor in achieving gender equality in Ghana.

In celebrating this years’ World Water Day, which is marked on the 22nd March of every year, the United Nations emphasized the critical importance of water to holistic development by reflecting on the linkages of water to every facet of human life as we work to create the future we want.  The theme for this years’ World Water Day celebration is ‘Water and Sustainable Development’

Ghana’s water resources are currently in dire situation, with fears of the Ghanaian importing water in the future if critical actions are not taken now to address the situation. At the bane of this looming crisis is the increasing removal of  forests and vegetation in critical watersheds and riparian areas. Additionally, surface water bodies which serve as safe water sources to more than 45% of the largely rural population is under serious threat of illegal mining activities and industrial pollution both large and small scale from the south to the north of the country.

As part of activities to mark this year’s World Water Day, A Rocha Ghana in collaboration with several of its partners embarked on a series of media activities to commemorate the day. The aim was to draw the attention of the public to the increasing threat to water resources in country and the need for collective individual, local, regional and national concerted action to address the situation to reverse the current state of water resources Ghana. 

Key activities organized to commemorate the day are:

  • On Saturday the 21st of March, a media tour was organized which featured seasoned journalists to the Atewa Forest to give journalist a firsthand knowledge of the source of the water that flows to Accra and its environs and also the illegal activities that are being meted out to the forest. Several articles on the dire situation in Atewa Forest and environs were published in the print and electronic media as a result.
  • On Sunday the 22nd of March, a talk show was hosted by A Rocha Ghana on the popular talk show Talking Point on GBC 24. The focus of the three panel discussion was on the theme for this year’s world’s water day celebration “water for sustainable development.” Among many issues discussed include the current state of Atewa Forest, the source of potable water for more than 5 Million Ghanaians in Accra and within the watershed catchment. The discussion also shared some light on current conservation action to save Atewa Forest and designate it as a National Park. This new development is in partnership with Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Forestry Commission and the Coalition for NGOS against mining in Atewa (CONAMA), with support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Ghana-Netherlands WASH Program http://www.gnwp.nl/.
  • The celebration was climaxed on Monday the 23rd of March, by the participation of A Rocha  and CONAMA team members in popular television morning talk shows on Viassat 1 and Joy TV respectively. The discussions focused on the need to preserve water bodies in Ghana and the need for individuals to exhibit responsible behaviour and also for government to enforce regulations and ensure compliance on existing legal frameworks that secure water resources in the country.

In a related development in the Northern Region of Ghana, A Rocha Ghana through funding from the Netherlands Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-NL) sponsored a two (2) hours call in radio program on Radio Pad 95.1 FM in Damongo. The program sought to give opportunity to community members  in West and North Gonja District of Northern Region to talk about the importance of water to their livelihoods and what can be done to address the threats to water resources in communities and also within the Districts as whole. West Gonja District in particular faces serious access to potable water during the long dry season on annual basis due dwindling surface water bodies and a low water table.

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