Water Resources Commission Advocates Reuse Of Treated Waste Water

By: Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor

The Water Resources Commission is advocating for the reuse of treated wastewater that are mostly generated from companies and household activities into safe water for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra on the effects of wastewater disposal on aquatic biodiversity, Adwoa Darko, Chairperson of the Planning Committee of the World Water Day said it is about time focused is directed at reducing the pressure mounted on fresh water.

Marking this year’s World Water Day on the theme, “Water and Wastewater,” she noted that fresh water can be conserved to reduce pressure while wastewater can be regenerated and treated for other beneficial use.

“It will help in solving our waste management problems and reduce the incidence of cholera and other water borne diseases if we are able to harness these waters that we deemed waste,” she intimated.

Mrs. Darko posited that Government commitment in establishing a sole ministry for Sanitation and Water Resources is a demonstration of its resolve to support this effort holistically.

“I am also seeing that there is going to be a policy direction in that regard for us to look at wastewater as a resource that can be generated and treated for reused for every home and company in the country,” she stated.

Obiri Samuel, Senior Research Scientist, CSIR-Water Research Institute indicated that it is important that we take a second look at the wastewater we generate and how best we can treat it to reduce it effect on the natural environment.

He noted that water stressed countries such as Singapore and the rest have adopted this approach towards solving their acute water problems by reusing their wastewater.

“We need to first of all start looking at the right policy frameworks that will operationalize this system to allow people and companies to invest in technologies that will support the new approach in the country,” he stated.

Mr. Samuel emphasized that the system, when implemented will help the hospitality industry, households and companies which uses enough water to regenerate it for flashing of their water closets whiles preserving and conserving the fresh water for other purposes to cut down bills on water supply.

According to him, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a global scientific body that was set up to advice the United Nations on matter relating to climate change has made recommendations.

He added that their recent assessment shows that 12 countries in West Africa will be limited to 1000 meter cube of water by the year 2020 and Ghana is not an exemption.

 

Source: Modernghana.com

Kenya: Why Nairobi Is Thirsty City in the Sun

Nairobi’s Kaloleni Estate is like a town that city fathers forgot: Rusty pipes, blocked sewers and rivulets of a dark oily substance are its daily hallmarks and it wears them like emblems of shame.

Decades of neglect have turned this once beautiful estate — in past years characterised by manicured lawns and streets lined with Jacaranda trees — into a site of derelict homes, overgrown grass and aged roofing.

Kaloleni today sticks out like a sore thumb. It looks nothing like the estate built to house Nairobi’s 1950s and 60s middle-class.

For Ms Clementina Otieno, who has lived here since 1973 when each house had clean, running water, Kaloleni is a far cry from its glorious days. She only stays on because for Sh2,500 a month, she has a three-bedroom house.

The last time she saw water flowing in her kitchen was in 1991, when Steve Flavian Mwangi was elected mayor of Nairobi.

That was 26 years ago. When we met her, a handcart had just pulled up to deliver water, a ritual that she, and her neighbours, are now accustomed to.

WATER CRISIS WITH NO END

As the Nairobi population grows, the reality is dawning on city fathers that they might not be able to deliver water to all the residents. The tens of vendors who deliver water to Kaloleni are now filling a gap left after City Hall uprooted the old pipes with a promise that they would replace them.

“They didn’t. Up to now, the meters and the water pipes have never been seen again,” said Ms Otieno.

Kaloleni reflects the general problem facing Nairobi’s close to five million people, who are facing a water crisis that might not end soon.

At the moment only 220,000 households in the city are supplied with water and although the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company pumps 550,000 cubic litres a day to the city, officials say that 40 per cent of this is never accounted for and is either stolen or leaks to the ground due to aged pipes and illegal connections.

With the acute water shortage that is now the norm in the seat of government, the aged pipes rust and once water is pumped with force they puncture easily.

“These pipes are old,” said Nairobi Water’s managing director Philip Gichuki as he explained the reasons behind the punctures. “We are then forced to shut down the entire water system for repair.”

SCRAP METAL VANDALS

Whenever this happens, some estates have to go without water for a week, sometimes longer.

For a city that has not invested in upgrading its water piping system, Nairobi is also grappling with vandals who take advantage of the unregulated scrap metal market.

City Hall officials blamed some of the leakages on vandalism of metal pipes. They are now investing in plastic ones because these are not targeted by vandals.

However, there is a historical problem that has turned into a nightmare. “Some of the underground leakages are hard to detect since water seeps in the foundation of old buildings,” said Mr Gichuki.

Such leaks cannot be detected by the naked eye. In the recent past, the company has invested in leak detection tools that use helium gas to detect underground leakages.

With some buildings in Nairobi dating back to the 1920s, when the city grew from a small railway depot to a commercial hub, the pipes in some of the estates now lie below highrise buildings and it is now impossible to fix leaks on such locations.

As a result, the city is losing 57,200 cubic litres or 10.4 per cent daily through leakages that cannot be seen. Mr Gichuki said this leakage loss amounts to 40.35 per cent of water lost by the company.

WATER RATIONING

In its books, Nairobi Water calls it Non-Revenue Water because it is never accounted for and does not earn any revenue.

Under international standards, a water company is allowed to lose about 25 per cent of the water pumped from its dams.

In the past three months alone, the company has reduced its water production to 440,000 cubic litres — which is 20 per cent below its normal production — due to the low water levels at the Ndakaini Dam. The water levels at the dam now stand at 30 per cent while at Sasumua it is at 57.1 per cent.

As the rationing goes on, Kaloleni and its residents have to wait much longer for Nairobi to sort out its water problems.

According to the Nairobi Water Strategic Master Plan (2015/16-2018/19) the city proposes to invest Sh3.2 billion to reduce non-revenue water from 40 to 16 per cent by June 2019, only two years from now.

The company also hopes to install regional boundary bulk water meters to avoid central reading of the meter which is prone to inaccuracies.

LEAKY OLD PIPES

Mr Gichuki said there is little that can be done about the aged pipes because the company lacks sufficient resources to undertake the work and also because of the many developments sprouting in the city.

Pipes in the old City Council estates that include Bahati, Huruma, Mbotela and the City Centre are now more than 80 years old and have never be replaced.

Care For Water, Panacea For Food Needs

The growing need for water as a scare resource has become a concern for every nation in view of population expansion.

The uses of water and its importance to agriculture are critical in addressing food needs of the population.

It is estimated that the world’s population by 2050 would require a 60 per cent increase in food production to feed and water would be heavily depended on.

According to reports, 40 per cent of the world’s food is produced through irrigation. However, the water bodies that sustain the earth and through which irrigation is carried out are faced with all forms of abuse leading to threat to the natural ecosystem.

Irrigation is one source by which farmers use water from rivers or ground water to extend their cultivation through simple techniques during the lean seasons during which time the rains would have stopped.

The role of irrigation in supplementing the growing food needs of the population is crucial. The Sustainable Development goal (SDG) 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture can pass the test if these resources are protected.

Mr. Samuel Manu, Upper East Regional Manager of Irrigation Development Authority (IDA) in an interview said the availability of dams in communities contribute greatly to food needs of the people.

According to him the presence of dams and dug outs closer to the communities enable farmers to cultivate vegetables to augment food needs and their income.

He noted that communities in the Upper East Region, where water sources such as rivers, and dams were located, poultry especially guinea fowls lay their eggs earlier than usual and the growth rate very good.

He added that income from cultivation of vegetables have also helped to reduce rural and urban migration and improve on nutritional needs of communities.

Currently there are more than 22 irrigation projects in Ghana constructed by the IDA spanning more than 6,505 hectares.

In the Region most prominent of the existing irrigation schemes include the Tono Irrigation Project in the Kassena-Nankana District with an irrigable area of up to 2,500 ha and a total annual water requirement of 40 million m3; the Vea irrigation scheme in the Bongo District that has an irrigable area of up to 1,000 ha, and a total annual requirement of eight million m3.

Mr Manu said there were more than 200 dams and dug outs in the Region to support farmers in their off season.

These irrigation sites also contribute greatly to the water consumed in most homes. However increasingly, water resources have been threatened by growing scarcity of freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity and soils are being rapidly degraded.

Changing weather patterns are also putting even more pressure on the resources depended on, increasing risks associated with disasters such as droughts and floods, culminating from the impact of changing climate and the exploitation of water resources and rate of loss as envisioned account for a larger segment of the resource mobilised.

Meanwhile, fears of rising temperatures as indicated would continue to have implications on these resources and that would continue to reduce the length of crop cycles and increase water stress due to higher water evaporation rate.

Though these resource over the years offer farmers the space to undertake their farming activities, it has been subjected to pollution to water due to chemicals used by farmers and their attendant side effects that render harm to crops, livestock, and also leading to salination of the soils rendering the pollution load higher with serious impact on drinking water quality hence its implications on public health.

The effect is not only on food production but livestock and fishing are also affected because of lack of forage for animals to graze while the rate of evaporation also impact on fish stocks due to changes in water sources.

If agriculture, forestry and fisheries can thrive in Ghana, to provide the needed food requirements for all then the water resource through which these can be achieved to nourish the expected two billion people by 2050 should be treated with care.

Mr. Manu, said a lot of wastage of water occur at watering points of dams, and other irrigation sites due to leakage and breakage of canals and drains.

According to him farmers also waste water when they open multiple valves and sprinklers at the same time and find it difficult to close them, rendering water to overflow the crops leading to waste.

In management of the water systems, he indicated that though farmers are trained to take up maintenance of the water system, the task is not properly followed because they continue to move on to other communities and do not pass on the skills.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, was heralded by Ghanaians for his policy on one district one dam as a leap to improving lives to all.

According to Mr. Manu, inventory of all existing dams is underway and that would enable his outfit present information to submit potential districts for the intervention.

Some recommendations for improved irrigation

The Ministry of Food Agriculture (MOFA) must increase education on use of agro-chemicals since farmers with little knowledge and effect of the product tends to apply it wrongly, and worst of all around irrigation sites, which pollute water resources.

There is the need for improved techniques for irrigation to facilitate the use of less water.

Planting of trees around water bodies to reduce evaporation is also very important as well as education of people to use domestic and industrial waste water for gardening at household and institutional levels.

The involvement of stakeholders in ensuring efficiency in the use of these resources is crucial especially in promoting local water management, effective maintenance at the communities to ensure effective use of water.

 

Source: The Chronicle

Take responsibility and act to protect water bodies

By Florence Afriyie Mensah, GNA
Kumasi, Mar 28, GNA – All Ghanaians have been asked to take responsibility and act together to stop the reckless destruction and pollution of water bodies.

Mr. Yussif Rock Mohammed, an Executive Member of the Movement for Probity and Accountability (MPA), a policy think-thank, said this was in everybody’s interest and could not wait.

He indicated that the pollution of rivers and the dry up of a number of streams across the nation must be a wake-up call to all.

It should not be left to the government alone to deal with the ‘looming danger’ and that all should find space to contribute to fight to protect water sources.

Mr. Mohammed was speaking at a day’s workshop held in Kumasi to sensitize and help the youth to have better understanding of what was happening and galvanize them to move to safeguard the environment.

The programme was organized by the MPA and it was attended by youth activists of the political parties and student groups.

He asked that ‘we should all take blame for the current state of affairs – the illegal mining, farming close to river beds and cutting down trees that serve as shade to check evaporation’.

He added ‘why should we continue to do this to ourselves – engage in practices harmful to the environment and our very survival’.

He called for the government, the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to have the political will to severely punish the offenders to discourage people from doing the wrong things.

Mr. Mohammed rallied the youth to become agents of change and take centre stage in efforts to restore the health of the environment.

 

Source: modernghana.com

AfDB, Ivorian government celebrate world water day

As a sign of their healthy relations, the Ivoirian Government on Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Abidjan, partnered with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other development players, to commemorate World Water Day.

World Water Day is celebrated every year on March 22. It is an opportunity to raise awareness on water issues. This year, the event was celebrated under the theme wastewater.

The ceremony, held at the Ivorian Prime Minister’s Office allowed speakers to not only underscore the criticality of water and sanitation to the social and economic well-being of Ivorians but to also draw the public’s attention to the urgent need to turn wastewater into a source of wealth.

Representing the Prime Minister of Cote D’Ivoire, Ms. Anne Désirée Ouloto, Minister of Hygiene, Environment and Sustainable Development and Deputy Spokesperson of the Ivorian Government said wastewater should not be the source of diseases and poverty. Wastewater, she said, should rather be viewed from an income generation lens.

Minister Ouloto said water and sanitation are central to the government’s 2020 vision which aims to make Cote d’Ivoire an emerging country.

Several projects demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to the water and sanitation sector in Côte d’Ivoire. The Gourou Integrated Watershed Management Project, financed by the Bank for approximately 23.30 million Units of Account (UA) in 2010, has improved environmental management and treatment of solid waste, job creation, improved sanitation, and better health outcomes for about 280,000 people targeted in the District of Abidjan. Close to US $350 million was mobilized in October 2016 for Phase II which primarily seeks to consolidate the gains of the first phase.

Representing the Bank at the event, Jean-Michel Ossete, Acting Coordinator of the African Water Facility said, “the possibilities of exploiting wastewater are considerable. Costs of wastewater management are substantially outweighed by economic benefits associated with improved human health, economic development, and environmental sustainability.” According to Ossete, the Bank “will continue to support public and private initiatives in the water and sanitation sector in general and wastewater in particular. Political commitment is vital for the success of water and sanitation projects. Ossete also urged African governments to give greater priority to water and sanitation.

 

Source: African Development Bank Group

South Africa: Stormwater Harvesting Could Help South Africa Manage Its Water Shortages

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In 2016, South Africa experienced one of the worst droughts in decades. Many towns and cities across the country were left with compromised water supply systems and limited food production. This placed pressure on an already fragile economy.

South Africa must find ways to adapt to and mitigate water insecurity threats. These can be from droughts, climate change, but also from increases in water demand through urbanisation, population growth and rising standards of living. Towns and cities need to start operating within the limits of their existing water resources.

To avert a future water crisis, the country needs to seek alternative sources of water supply and reduce its reliance on conventional surface water schemes like dams and reservoirs.

Stormwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rainfall run-off in open ponds or aquifers. It’s been identified as one alternative water resource that could supplement traditional urban water supplies. Stormwater harvesting is different to rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of run-off water from an individual property with private use – usually from the roofs of buildings.

Stormwater harvesting can improve water security and increase resilience to climate change in urban areas. It can also prevent frequent flooding and provide additional benefits to society – such as creating amenities and preserving biodiversity.

There’s a significant variation in rainfall across South Africa, and most parts of the country are well placed to harvest stormwater. For example, Cape Town obtains roughly 400 million cubic metres of water annually from its supply reservoirs. But more than three times this amount falls onto the city every year as rain, that becomes stormwater.

Stormwater potential

A recent study of the Liesbeek River Catchment in Cape Town found that stormwater harvesting had the potential to reduce the total current residential potable water demand of the catchment by more than 20% if the stored stormwater was used for purposes like irrigation and toilet flushing. For such a reduction to take place, the vast majority of residents would be required to make use of harvested stormwater. This would likely necessitate changes to the regulations related to the supply of water in the city.

There’s only been one large-scale example of successful, long-term stormwater harvesting in South Africa. This is in the town of Atlantis on the country’s west coast. This low rate of adoption of stormwater harvesting is likely due to a range of socio-institutional challenges. These include resistance to innovative approaches, fragmented and underfunded water management institutions, a lack of political will, and a shortage of capacity required to operate and maintain the harvesting process. There are however signs of increasing interest of utilising stormwater as a resource in the country with a number of smaller scale schemes being undertaken.

There are several international examples of large-scale stormwater harvesting. One of the most comprehensive is in Singapore where it has been shown to be a useful high-quality water resource. Other initiatives in the US and Australia highlight that harvested stormwater is used for a range of purposes including irrigation, toilet flushing, commercial and industrial uses.

How they work

Stormwater harvesting schemes all make use of some form of storage system. Some make use of retention ponds with permanent water storage. Others make use of detention ponds; these are normally dry except following large storm events when they temporarily store stormwater to reduce downstream flooding.

Detention or retention ponds are used to store run-off volumes. This results in the reduction of downstream flows, and decreased flooding. Stormwater can infiltrate into the ground from these ponds, or it can be intentionally injected into boreholes so that it can be captured and stored in aquifers. This is a process known as managed aquifer recharge.

There are further opportunities for stormwater managers to actively manage the systems using real-time control. This can be done in a way that, prior to a predicted storm event, the storage is partially emptied resulting in an increase in the flow rates in the river ahead of the storm, but a decrease in the peak flows during the storm, which could prevent flooding. In this way, additional storage capacity is created for stormwater harvesting purposes.

Few and far between

Stormwater and higher-quality treated municipal effluent in Atlantis are used to recharge the aquifer beneath the town for later extraction through boreholes. The scheme has successfully ensured a consistent supply of water for the town over the last 37 years. Approximately 30% of the town’s groundwater supply comes from the artificial recharge scheme.

But research shows that it should also be seriously considered as an alternative water source in other areas. In Cape Town most of the harvestable stormwater is only available during the wet winter months when the reservoirs are typically filling in any case. If it were properly captured it could be used as a way to reduce normal demand during this time.

This can be done by increasing the rate and level to which these reservoirs fill up to ensure an increase in the availability of water during the dry summer months.

Additional benefits

Stormwater harvesting can have spin-off benefits too in terms of protecting natural assets like parks, wetlands and ponds. This in turn has benefits for biodiversity as corridors to support indigenous vegetation within an urban area are created. There’s also potential for these systems to provide water treatment functions through naturally filtering and biologically treating polluted urban stormwater.

For example, the positive amenity generated by stormwater harvesting in the Liesbeek catchment was estimated at between R2 million and R7 million a year in 2013. This was calculated by the public’s willingness to pay for a change in the quality or quantity of an environmental good or service like recreational use, added property value, water treatment, or flood alleviation.

Stormwater harvesting offers an alternative water supply source. It’s almost entirely untapped in South Africa and could ensure improved water security for towns and cities across the country. Stormwater could be treated to potable standards like in Singapore. But it may not be economically feasible and it may be preferable to use the stored water for non-potable purposes like irrigation and toilet flushing.

Stormwater harvesting appears to be financially and technically viable in South Africa but it would depend on whether all sectors of society would be willing to use harvested stormwater, and for the required municipal policy and regulatory processes to be put in place.

Disclosure statement

Kirsty Carden receives funding from the South African Water Research Commission.

Source: allafrica.com

2 Volta communities protest against Indian salt mining firm

By: King Norbert Akpablie, citifmonline.com

 

Barely two weeks after residents of Adina in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta Region attacked an Indian salt mining company, Kensington, two more neighboring communities; Agbozume and Klikor, are also up in arms against the same company.

The residents there are accusing Kensington of drying up their wells and destroying their water bodies with their operations.

The residents in these communities who share the same lagoon with residents of Adina, are blaming the company for drilling water underground instead of drawing from the sea; which has resulted in the reduction of water at the water table that feeds their wells and lagoons.

Speaking to Citi News, some of the demonstrators called on government to help evacuate the company from the area.

One Ernest Lumor lamented that, the sea sometimes floods its boundaries due to activities of the company.

“The man came to our land, we were not informed and now the man is using the sea. Because of that, we have the sea covering our walls. Now we don’t have good water, our coconut trees are dying, we have too high temperature hence we are all feeling uncomfortable in the area. So now we want everyone to know that we are sacking the Whiteman and the job he is bringing. We have had this salt here always, but we are not seeing any benefit from the new salt he is producing,” he added.

Another resident, Mensah Lawson Kofi, said “as I speak, there is no water in our wells, during rainy season, our source of water is the wells, but it has not rained here for some time now.”

“We are demonstrating to petition the government to come to our aid because although our politicians promise to come to our rescue, they don’t honour their promises when we vote for them. We want government to help remove this mining company from this community. If a company is in your community, it comes with development, but we are not seeing any developmental projects in our community. They are also not going according to the contract they signed with our chiefs.”

It would be recalled that some weeks ago, angry Adina residents attacked staff of the company, leading to the death of one of the angry youth.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Public told not to build around buffer Zones

By: Mildred Siabi-Mensah GNA
Takoradi, March 9, GNA – The citizenry have been called upon not to raise structures or dump waste along the buffers zones of the country’s water bodies.

This is because leaving the buffer zones undisturbed contributed to maintaining the ecosystem, ensured protection and improvement of biodiversity.

Lawyer Bernadette Arabs Adjei, Principal Legal personnel at the Water Resources Commission at a workshop on the development of buffer zones said buffers provided the needed goods and services on sustainable basis to support the livelihood of local communities.

The workshop was to solicit input from stakeholders on a legislative instrument and dissemination of the Dam Safety Regulations (LI 2236).

Reduced vegetation cover along water bodies coupled with increasing pollution from domestic and industrial waste had resulted in sediments and its subsequent deterioration in water quality of natural water bodies, Ms Adjei noted.

The objective of the LI is aimed at ensuring that all designated buffer zones along rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and other water bodies are protected in a sustainable manner.

Ms Adjei said the LI sought to ensure that buffer zones were incorporated into the local land use plans, provide specifics on alterations of natural conditions in some areas and exclude the exploitation or occupations that were inimical to the purposes of designated zones.

Dr. Bob Alfa, Surface Water Engineer at the Commission, entreated Ghanaians entrepreneurs in that sector to acquire the necessary licensing from the Commission in the guidelines regarding the sector was followed.

Participants during the plenary discussion called for more community engagement and awareness on the subject to win their corporations.

The assemblies were also urged to establish bye laws to protect buffer zones.

 

Source: modernghana.com

GWCL calls for steps to prioritise wastewater treatment

By: Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA


Accra, March 9, GNA – The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says less than 10 percent of wastewater in the country is treated and therefore called for measures in prioritising its recycling to enhance socio-economic development.

Mrs Margaret Macauley, the Chief Manager of the Water Quality Assurance Department (WQAD) of the GWCL, made the call at the media launch of this year’s World Water Day, in Accra, on Thursday, on the theme: ”Water and Waste Water”.

She said the opportunities for exploiting wastewater as a resource were enormous because safely managed, wastewater could serve as an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

She said as a nation, we must ensure systematic reduction in the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe re-use of both liquid and solid waste.

According to her, a large proportion of wastewater generated was discharged directly into the environment without or with very little treatment because the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies that were responsible for waste management lacked the capacity to manage them effectively.

She said pragmatic steps must be taken to improve the sources of water by reducing pollution, eliminate dumping of liquid and solid waste as well as minimise the release of hazardous chemicals and materials into water bodies.

The Chief Manager of the WQAD of the GWCL noted that most of the wastewater treatment plants were dysfunctional and therefore partially treated wastewater were discharged back to the environment which could negatively affect the ecosystem and pose a health risk to the surrounding communities.

She said: ”Water has to be carefully managed throughout the various paths of the water cycle from fresh water abstraction, pre-treatment, treatment, distribution, use, collection of grey water, post-treatment, re-use of the treated wastewater, and its ultimate return to the environment, ready to be abstracted to start the cycle again.

Mrs Macauley observed that water was essential to human existence and core to sustainable development, and also played a critical role to the wellbeing and prosperity of the people.

She said the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 explicitly recognised universal access to water as a human right and considered it as one of the most important issues of the 21st century.

She noted that water was needed for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes and, therefore, called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to maintain its wholesomeness and availability.

The Executive Secretary of Water Resources Commission, Mr Benjamin Ampomah, who chaired the function, reiterated the need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to tackle the menace of illegal mining which had polluted major water bodies across the country.

He said water was a valuable resource that played an essential role in human survival therefore the issue of illegal mining should be tackled with all seriousness and perpetrators made to face the full rigours of the law.

The World Water Day is celebrated by the international community on the 22nd of March each year, to draw attention to the importance of freshwater and advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year’s theme: Water and Waste Water,” provides an important opportunity for all stakeholders to learn more about how wastewater can be a valuable resource to the country’s economy and how its safe management would aid in investment as well as the health of the populace and the ecosystem.

Some activities earmarked for the celebration include public awareness creation through radio and television discussions, editorials, writing of feature articles, radio news commentaries and special in-depth news interviews.

The celebration would be climaxed on March 22 with tour of some water recycled plants by various stakeholders.

 

Source: modernghana.com

One village one dam policy is key to agriculture growth

GNA Feature by Samuel Adadi Akapule
Bolgatanga, March 11, GNA – Ghana did not err when the country agreed with a group of African countries in 2003, under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, to allocate at least 10 per cent of public budgets to agriculture.

This was aimed at achieving six per cent growth in agriculture. One of the many good reasons for the decision is that empirically, it is established that agriculture contributes faster to poverty reduction than industrial investment does.

As a matter of fact, agricultural spending has wider redistributive effect than any other sector.

In Ghana, research has shown that at the national level, agricultural public expenditure has the highest returns in terms of agricultural productivity.

It is well established that for every one marginal cedi invested in agriculture, GH¢16.8 is returned. This is much higher than feeder roads returns of GH¢8.8 and GH¢1.3 for health.

In spite of this growing evidence of agriculture being the key in tackling poverty and transforming lives, the right amount of public investment is yet to be made in the sector.

In fact, researchers and think tanks including the Africa Centre for Energy Policy have it that agriculture share of public spending in Ghana is less than 10 per cent.

This is not only raising questions on the country’s commitment to the Maputo Declaration but also negatively affecting livelihoods.

Though very sad, it is not surprising to hear that the 3.6 per cent agricultural growth target for 2015 was not achieved.

Fortunately, the country has very huge potentials to grow and develop agriculture to the desired level, to accelerate development for improved livelihoods.

There are enormous agricultural investment opportunities in the country particularly the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (SADA), which occupies more than 50 per cent of the total land space of Ghana.

The Zone has vast land for agriculture and could be targeted for total economic transformation of the country through agriculture.

According to the Ministry of Finance, if the production of tomatoes and rice alone were the focus of Ghana, the nation would have been saving $ 400 million annually.

Targeting the SADA Zone and other parts of the country with the One Village One Dam Policy for all year round cropping of tomatoes and rice and revamping the Pwalugu Tomato Factory and the Tamale Rice Mills for agro-processing and value addition is the surest way and probably best policy option to help the country save $ 400 million annually and achieve sustainable macro-economic stability.

There is no doubt that the introduction of One Village One Dam Policy will undoubtedly increase food productivity and security, meet agricultural sector growth targets and fast-track the country’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly the goals on eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

Another justification for the introduction of the policy is that, research has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the upsurge of climate change is having a great impact on food production and a telling effect on food security in the Northern Ecological Zone of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority.

History has it that in the 1980s, the Upper East Region used to have rainfall in April and farmers could get busy on their farms by the tail end of April and early May.

Those days, farmers got abundant harvests that enabled them to feed their families throughout the dry season.

But the question one may ask is that, is it the same situation today? Certainly no, the situation got worse after the 1990s when the Region started recording first rains of the year in May and June.

As if this delay was not enough, the rainfall pattern also became erratic thereby affecting food production adversely and causing food security problems.

Nowadays farmers in the area, particularly smallholder farmers, find it difficult if not impossible to feed their families throughout the lean season, which stretches up to five months in the year, before the onset of the next farming season.

The Upper East scenario cuts across all the ecological zones of SADA including the Northern, Upper West and Volta Regions, as well as some parts of the Brong- Ahafo Region.

The signs of climate change in the zones are becoming so alarming that if measures are not taken now, it would worsen the food security situation in all of those areas.

The provision of dams and dug-outs would not only help harvest rain water for agricultural activities particularly in the dry season.

It would also take care of the large volumes of water that usually engulf parts of the Region whenever the spillway of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso is opened, which often leads to the loss of human lives, animals and the destruction of farmlands and other valuable properties.

Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off.

Its benefits include the availability of water for gardening, for livestock, irrigation, domestic use (with proper treatment), and indoor heating for houses.

In many places like the Guangzhou province in China, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Beijing (China) the water collected is just redirected to a deep pit with percolation.

All these are good lessons for Ghana to learn and to adopt. Rain water, which is a resource from God must not be allowed to go waste while we the country wallow’s in hunger.

To sum up, there is no doubt that the One Village One Dam Policy is the Key to Sustainable Agriculture Growth and Development in Ghana, particularly the Northern Savannah Ecological Zones.

The Government must be commended for taking a bold decision to initiate the move and earmarking GH¢94.5 million for the One-Village-One-Dam in the 2017 budget.

What is needed urgently is for the Government to facilitate the process by encouraging local public-private partnerships and also going into partnership with foreign investors to help the construction of more dams and dugouts as well as de-silting old ones.

When this is done it would help accelerate the transformational agenda and help Ghana to make significant gains in the achievement of the SDGs.

 

Source: modernghana.com