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Sand winning activities threaten water supply to Tamale, other areas

BY: Samuel Duodu
An excavator and a truck loaded with sand (inset) at  the sand winning site at Nawuni
An excavator and a truck loaded with sand (inset) at the sand winning site at Nawuni

The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has said 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 around the White Volta was not stopped.

The company is unable to treat enough water drawn from the river at its Nawuni intake point at Dalun because of the high siltation levels of the water due to activities of the sand winners which has also 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, is heavily polluted as a result of sand winning activities on the river bed, closed to the river banks," the Northern Regional Production Manager of the GWCL, Mr Nicholas Okyere, has stated.

Event

This came to light when the GWCL conducted Journalists round the banks of the White Volta and the intake point at Nawuni to witness the devastative effects of sand winning activities in the area.

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Officials of the GWCL also interacted with chiefs, opinion and community leaders, including the leadership of the sand winners, to find a lasting solution to the problem.

The Dalun treatment plant supplies potable water to residents in Tamale, Savelugu, Tolon, Kumbungu and its environs.

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Water rationing

As a result of the challenges, the company has been compelled to ration water to the beneficiary areas.

According to Mr Okyere, his outfit had also intensified the water rationing exercise because the sand winning activities on the river bed had diverted the river channel.

"We have to do away with 30 per cent of the raw water we get from the White Volta due to the high level of siltation, and if care is not taken, we may be forced to shut down the system," he added.

Mr Okyere appealed to the chiefs and other stakeholders in Nawuni and Dalun to ensure that residents respect a buffer zone that enjoined them to stay 100 metres away from the river.

He explained that the GWCL was not against sand winning since it was important for the construction industry and also served as source of livelihood for the people, “but all we are demanding for is responsible mining that will not pollute the river."

Response

The immediate past Chairman of the Northern Regional branch of the Association of Road Contrators Ghana (ASROG), Alhaji Sherif Mahama, the Secretary of the Tamale Tipper Truck Owners Association, Mr Yahaya Iddrisu, and the other stakeholders, all pledged their commitment to safeguard the river from further pollution. They also indicated their willingness to ensure that members respected the 100 metres buffer zone that had been demarcated.