The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in the Central region has said the menace of illegal mining (galamsey) continues to militate ruthlessly against its operations in the region, particularly at their intake points.
Mr Kwasi Abrebrese, the Regional Chief Manager of the Company, claimed that galamsey was now more rampant than it was in the past and the company struggled to extract water for treatment at some production plants due to the extremely muddy state of the water source.
He was addressing the media in Cape Coast after a closed door stakeholder meeting with the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) following a similar meeting between the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Commission.
The meetings were part of the Commission’s stakeholders’ engagement with utility providers and consumers in the region to assess their performance and identify and improve areas of challenges.
“In a dire situation, you may not get enough water to even extract before you start the production process. So, for some of our production centres, there is no water to produce. For some, we even must do desilting at the edges of the intake to create more room for the volumes to build up,” Mr Abrebrese said.
He explained that GWCL was forced by the situation to introduce more chemicals in the water, albeit cautiously, to keep water flowing to its customers, adding to its production cost.
According to the GWCL Regional Chief Manager, production was always interrupted for maintenance works due to the filth in the water that clocked their machines, citing Sekyereheman as the most affected.
“So, we must break production and clean our filters before we restart production. When you should have done 24 hours of continuous pumping, you may have to do 12 hours or less,” he noted.
The acute water shortage in some parts of the Central Region and the brownish water that flows through people’s pipes in some communities have been an issue of major concern to many.
Mr Abrebrese, therefore, called for a concerted efforts by citizens and government to combat the canker to forestall a looming water crisis in the country.
“We will be glad if we see all of ourselves as stakeholders in ensuring that a day will not come that Ghana will import water. We are praying that citizens should promptly report so that we fight some of these things which may, eventually, affect the whole country,” he appealed.
Dr Ishmael Ackah, Executive Secretary, PURC addressing the challenges raised by GWCL, advised the company to engage the public on galamsey to develop localised strategies to get quality water.
For areas without water at all, he encouraged GWCL to expedite its provision and installation of reservoirs in such areas for them to get reliable supply of water.
To deal with overbilling and its attendant drama with consumers, Dr Ackah urged the water providers to meter all customers to resolve the situation.
On the operation of ECG, Dr Ackah observed that aside from illegal connections, burnt poles due to agricultural activities was a key problem sending the investment of ECG in the region down the drain.
He observed that the burning of poles affected electricity services to many communities and implored citizens to desist from the act, adding that it was their collective responsibility to protect the poles and the metres.
“When ECG does the wrong thing, report to us and we are going to engage them and make sure they deliver the service.”
He urged consumers to be alive to their civic responsibility of protecting government property for their own good.
Dr Ackah said that the PURC had invested in availing platforms to make reporting easier and increase its monitoring to make customers get the best of services.
Mr Emmanuel Ankomah, the Central General Manager of ECG, who identified revenue collection as a challenge, indicated that they had set up a taskforce to go after people who had connected power illegally and urged culprits to stop the practice or be dealt with when caught.
The company, he revealed had grabbed few perpetrators, educated them, made them to pay their bills and regularise their connection.
Mr Ankomah also advised customers to desist from procuring the services of unqualified electricians for wiring to prevent disasters.