Residents of parts of 4 regions experience water shortage

BY: Graphic Reporters

Illegal mining (galamsey activities), sand winning, erratic power supply and ageing equipment have combined to create water shortage in some parts of the country.

Currently, Cape Coast and parts of Accra, Tamale and the Western Region are affected and residents have, for days and weeks, been grappling with how to get water for domestic use.

From Cape Coast, Timothy Gobah reports that for about a week now water has not flowed through many taps in the town.

 Many residents are forced daily to travel miles with yellow gallons, popularly known as ‘Kufuor gallon’, in search of water.

Officials of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) explained that pumping machines at the Sekyere Hemang water supply system that supply water to the Central Regional capital had broken down, due to illegal mining on the Pra River.

They, however, assured the residents that work was in progress to resolve the problem.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic last Tuesday, the Western and Central Communications Manager of the GWCL, Nana Yaw Barnie, said the intake point for the treatment of water was heavily silted, adding that “when abstracting the water, the pump draws sand, instead of water, thereby affecting the component”.

He said the damaged pumps were dispatched to Kumasi and “at the end of the exercise the engineers were able to repair one and bring it to operation”.

“For now, only those in the lower side of Cape Coast will receive water until the situation is normalised,” he said.

Nana Yaw Barnie said the activities of illegal miners were negatively affecting the cost of production, saying that “as the quality of water deteriorates, we have to spend more money on chemicals”.

Accra West

Some areas in Accra West have also been experiencing water supply shortage, with officials attributing the situation to erratic power supply and old equipment.

The Communications Manager of the Accra West Region of the GWCL, Mrs Solace Akomeah, told the Daily Graphic on phone yesterday that the major cause of the problem was erratic power supply.

“Recently there had been power outages and they had affected our operations,” she said.

Besides, she said, the company had faced equipment malfunctioning because most of the equipment were very old and needed replacement.

“We have been working on the equipment and the pipes but it is all about the availability of money,” she said.


The water shortage in Tamale and its environs, according to the GWCL, was as a result of excessive sand winning activities in and around the banks of the White Volta, which had made it impossible for the company to get enough raw water to treat for consumption, Samuel Duodu reports.

“Unstable power supply has also been a contributor,” the Northern Regional Production Manager of the GWCL, Mr Nicholas H. Okyere, said.

Mr Okyere, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said until the problems were addressed, it would be impossible for Tamale and its environs to get adequate water supply.

He said “the GWCL is to produce 45,000 cubic metres of water for supply daily but due to sand winning and erratic power supply, we produce a daily average of 28,000 to 32,000 cubic metres, which cannot meet the demand”.

GWCL management’s response

When reached, the Head of Communications at the GWCL, Mr Stanley Martey, said the irregular supply of electricity in the past few months had negatively affected the production levels of water treatment plants, reports Timothy Ngnenbe.

“Our water treatment plants rely heavily on electricity to operate, but we have experienced erratic power supply in the past few months and this has made it difficult for us to produce at optimum levels,” he explained.

He added that the level of water in the rivers that served as sources of water for the treatment plants had drastically reduced, making it difficult to get enough water for treatment.

According to him, the situation had been compounded by the resurgence in galamsey, especially in the Central and the Western regions.

He added that indiscriminate winning of sand along water bodies by some residents and the obstruction of the flow of rivers by some manufacturing companies had also worsened the water challenges.

“As I speak, illegal miners have made the Pra and other rivers that supply water to our treatment plants at Daboase and Inchaban in the Western Region so muddy and turbid and costly to treat.

“Currently, we are only able to produce 1.5 million gallons of water a day, instead of six million,” he said.

Additionally, he said, some manufacturing companies had illegally blocked the course of the Pra River at Inchaban through their upstream activities.

 Touching on the situation in Tamale, Mr Martey said the water level in the Nawuni River that the GWCL relied on to serve its water treatment plants in the area had reduced in volume.

On Accra West, he said the water challenges were largely the result of poor power supply and the bursting of pipelines.

Way forward

On the way forward, he said the GWCL was collaborating with the Western Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to clamp down on the activities of companies and individuals who polluted water sources in the area.

He also said efforts were being made to tackle the issue of burst pipelines to curtail the trend.

“We want to step up education for people to be conscious of the management of water, so that they can use the resource wisely and sustainably,” Mr Martey said.