PETITION FOR URGENT ACTION TO SECURE THEDENSU BASIN FOR LONGTERM WATER SECURITY IN NSAWAM ADOAGYIRI MUNICIPALITY AND SURROUNDING TOWNS

March 22, 2016.

THE MUNICIPAL DISTRICT CHIEF EXECUTIVE

NSAWAM ADOAGYIRI MUNICIPALITY

NSAWAM

HON FRANK ANNOH DOMPREH

THE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

NSAWAM ADOAGYIRI CONSTITUENCY

NSAWAM

 

 

PETITION FOR URGENT ACTION TO SECURE THEDENSU BASIN FOR LONGTERM WATER SECURITY IN NSAWAM ADOAGYIRI MUNICIPALITY AND SURROUNDING TOWNS


Today, the whole world is commemorating World Water Day under the Theme Better Water, Better Jobs. While we have a lot to celebrate as country for the numerous gains in ensuring sustainable water supply to households, there are also several concerns and the need for the Executive, the Legislature, state agencies and the general public to do more work to secure the water provisioning systems of Ghana

 

With a renewable water capacity estimated to be 53.2 Billion m3 per year according to National Commission of UNESCO, and with a projected water demand of 5.13 Billion m3 by 2020 as indicated by the Chief Manager of GWCL, the present spells of depleted water resources and dry taps is unimaginable. Clearly, the shortages been experienced are artificial and requires concerted efforts of all and sundry to addresses these challenges.

In this regard, we the undersigned have made the following observations, all of which are corroborated by numerous evidence on the ground and to which several research and day to day experiences can attest to.

The recent water shortage that is still been felt by the people of Nsawam Adoagyiri needs particular mention, as the situation has brought untold hardship to both rich and poor, healthy and strong without respect for one’s social class. Educational activities were impacted negatively, Health officers abandoned their duty posts to secure water, clean and drinking water became critical for the poor and vulnerable groups in our society. The same was experienced by the people in Winneba and with this; we express our solidarity with all communities who for one reason or the other is currently faced with dire water shortages.

 

It is informative to know that, the Nsawam Adoagyiri Water Treatment station gets its source from the Densu River constituting the Densu Basin, which has its headwaters in the Atewa Forest. The Atewa Forest straddles four Districts in the Eastern Region of Ghana, notable of which are East Akyem and Atiwa Districts. The Atewa Forest is the water tower for three important rivers, River Densu, River Ayensu and River Birim, providing potable water sources for an estimated 5 million Ghanaians 60% of whom are located in the Accra and its environs.

 

The Densu Basin which is the source of potable water for the people of Nsawam Adoagyiri is been depleted by several unsustainable activities both directly and indirectly and these are observations;

 

  1. Upstream, the Atewa Forest which is the source of water for River Densu which feeds the treatment station at Nsawam is under increasing threat from illegal logging and in recent times not spared the wanton destruction perpetuated by the indiscriminate activities of small scale surface mining activities popularly called ‘galamsey’.

 

 

  1. Upstream there is increasing encroachment of the Densu basin by the activities of mining from both legal and illegal entities. Specifically, the activities of Akokoo Mining Company poses threats directly from its activities as well as its potential to attract the activities of galamsey operators into the the Densu  Basin which can seriously aggravate the water crisis not only in Nsawam but also for the people in Accra as the Densu also feeds the Weija Reservoir. We are very much aware that, the Water Resources Commission objected to the operations of Akokoo Goldfields within the Densu Basin, and yet the Minerals Commission and the EPA went ahead to issue operation license for Akokoo mines.

 

 

  1. Upstream and downstream we have observed farming activities within the basin and right along the basin without any recourse to maintaining a management buffer around the basin. This is very serious and only serves as a point of discharge of agro chemicals into our water system.

 

  1. Upstream and downstream, there is increasing depletion of riverine vegetation from activities of farming and clearing for construction of works stations for mechanics, shops, housing and other infrastructure. These activities are contributing to silting and providing avenues for contamination of the water basin.

 

The above observations noted, we wish to petition the Hon Municipal District Chief Executive and the Hon Member of Parliament to as matter of urgency act on the following key issues:

 

  1. We urge the legislature and the Executive to as a matter of urgency, put in place immediate measures to safeguard Ghana’s water towers as against all forms of human induced threats so they can continue to provide critical water provisioning functions for us and our children tomorrow. In particular, we urge the Executive to designate Atewa Forest Reserve and its extension which is the source of River Densu, serving Nsawam Adoagyiri and Accra as a National Park, to accord it the necessary protection and security required to safeguard its water resources till eternity.

 

Yesterday the 21st of March was International Day of Forests, and the theme was on the role forests play in securing our water resources. There is no doubt that forests are vital to our water supply. They influence how and where rain falls, and they filter and clean our water far better and more cheaply than man made solutions can. By protecting the Ghana’s forests, we are also protecting the clean water that we depend upon for our survival.Our leaders and the general public must do more work to secure our forests to ensure water security.

 

Designating Atewa Forests Reserve and its extension as a National Park with its added bundled benefits will be the best lasting legacy leadership can bequeath to the youth and leaders of tomorrow.

  1. Our need for clean and safe water matter much more than Gold, so all mining activities particularly the activities of the Akokoo Gold fields within the Densu basin which has 90% probability of causing serious basin damage must be suspended with immediate effect. By this, we also request full probe into the circumstances that informed Minerals Commission and EPA to approve the mining operations of Akokoo goldfields within the Densu Basin despite the objection by Water Resources Commission, the state agency with oversight responsibility for managing and securing our water resources.
  2. We call on the responsible action of the Legislature and the Executive to work promptly to legalize the Buffer Zone Policy of the Water Resources Commission to empower them and other state compliance agencies to secure our water provisioning systems from encroachment by illegal miners,  farmers, businesses, households and other destructive economic activities
  3. Finally, we are mindful of the potential of technology to transform lives, but we are even more mindful of the fact that technology can only thrive on the assets so richly provided by nature. A case in point is the nice ultra-modern treatment station here in Nsawam but which has now become a white elephant all because the assets of nature which it thrived on is depleted.

It is our sincere hope that the Municipal Chief Executive and the Honourable Member of Parliament will bring these issues up at the approve quarters in Parliament and also at the Municipal Security Council for urgent short to long-term actions towards securing our forests and water basins to ensure long-term water security.

As the theme for this year’s Water Day suggests, we all need to work very hard to secure better water resources, bearing in mind that, nearly all jobs are related to water and without a secure source of potable water for domestic and other uses, schools will grind to a halt, hospitals will close for lack of water, and we will all go in search in of water wherever, which could also be a potential source of fueling conflicts.

The good people in Nsawam Adoagyiri and all Ghanaians far and near who depend on clean flowing streams of nature, requests our leaders and state agencies to do more work to safeguard our water resources now for water security tomorrow.

 

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