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GWCL to shut water treatment plant at Dalun due to sand winning activities

BY: Samuel Duodu

The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has stated that it may be forced to shut down its water treatment plant at Dalun in the Kumbungu District in the Northern Region, if sand winning activities in the river bed at its raw water intake point at Nawuni and around the White Volta continues.

According to the GWCL, it cannot draw enough raw water from the White Volta at its Nawuni raw water intake point for treatment as the machines have been collecting a lot of silt due to sand winning activities in the river bed.

The sand winners have also reportedly diverted the course of the river channels.

"We do not get enough raw water to treat at our Dalun treatment plant for consumption since the White Volta which serves as the source of raw water has heavily been polluted as a result of sand winning activities in the river bed and close to the river banks", the Northern Regional Production Manager of the GWCL, Mr. Nicholas Okyere said when he took journalists on an inspection tour.

During the tour along the banks of the White Volta, the journalists witnessed the massive devastation sand winning activities had caused to the environment and also polluted the White Volta.

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The visit was also used to interact with chiefs, opinion and community leaders, the sand winners.

The Dalun treatment plant supplies potable water for consumption in the Tamale Metropolis, Savelugu, Tolon, Kumbungu and its environs.

But, according to Mr Okyere, the GWCL was currently rationing water in the Tamale metropolis and other catchment areas due to the sand winning activities.

"We have to throw away 30 per cent of the water we get for treatment due to pollution of the White Volta as a result of the sanding winning activities and if care is not taken we may be forced to shut down," he emphasised.

Buffer Zone

Mr. Okyere made a passionate appeal to the chiefs and community leaders to leave a 100-metre buffer zone to protect the river.

He said if the buffer zone was respected and observed by all stakeholders along the White Volta, it will help restore the river to its old state and also improve the water supply situation in Tamale.

He said the GWCL was not against sand winning since it was important for the construction industry and serves as a source of livelihood for the people but "all we are demanding for was responsible mining of the sand in order not to excessively pollute the river."

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The immediate past chairman of the Northern Regional branch of the Association of Road Contractors Ghana ( ASROG) said he will convey the message to their members and urged all to engage in responsible sand winning to protect the water bodies from drying up and pollution,

The Secretary of the Tamale Tipper Truck Association, Mr. Yahaya Iddrisu said they will respect the 100 metres buffer zone and has already informed their members not to engage in sand winning close to the river.

Chiefs and other community leaders from communities along the White Volta during the interaction also pledged to respect the 100 metres buffer zone and also educate members of their communities on the need to protect the water bodies.