Ghana as a country has been challenged to double up efforts in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 which requires that every Ghanaian has adequate access to WASH by 2030.

It obvious that, the country would not meet the SDG 6 if well-elaborated sector policies and strategies are not being put in place to address the critical issues facing the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector (WASH).

Currently, indiscriminate damping of refuse, open defecation, illegal mining, poor farming practices and attitudinal change are some of the challenges thwarting the country’s effort of archiving the SDG 6.

Despite the level of improvement, Ghana still has more work to do to ensure a basic level of WASH access for all.

The Country Director for IRC-Ghana, Ms Vida Duti, made this remark during a media dialogue on WASH and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Accra. As a country, we made a very good progress on the MDGs so were able to meet the millennium goals.

But with the SDGs targets are a bit higher in terms of improvement in the level of service that; is getting water to many household on premises.

“Sanitation is a more challenging issue. At the moment we have about 18% open defecation. So it is a huge task ahead of us. For instance we have issues around solid and liquid waste to deal with.

As a country, if we are able to address our water resource issues effectively, then we are most likely to meet our water target,” she explained.

This she said, there would be a sustainable source to provide water to everyone and areas that are endemic with water resource issues would be reached -out.

Ms Vida Duti, however, underscored the need for enforcing the existing laws to help ensure quality water, good sanitation and hygiene.

She also called on traditional and local government authorities to help in the protection of water bodies.

Ms Mercy Amokwadoh, the Project Coordinator for the Hope for Future Generations, a non-governmental organization, which is into behavioural change communication, advocacy and health education, among others, expressed displeasure about the manner in which people are turning water lands into refuse damps, saying, it was because they did not understand water issues. Others, she said also built on them with the advancement of technology.

Ms Amokwadoh called for attitudinal change among Ghanaians in terms of WASH, stressing that, if everyone did the right thing, the problems would be resolved and Ghana would grow.

The Principal Basin Officer of Water Resources Commission, Dr Mawuli Lumor, advised all and sundry to regard water as the most treasured natural resource.

This he said, said as result of greed, a lot of farmers, give their lands to illegal miners, who later pollute the water bodies because they do not follow due process.

Stressing that, farm activities such as spraying, application of pesticides, fertilisers and insecticides by those who plant along the water bodies should be discarded as they also end up polluting them.

The Watershed programme is a strategic partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo.

Over the 5-year period, the Watershed programme in Ghana will work with CSOs to lobby and advocate for improvements in the governance and management of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as well as water resources management (WRM) services.

In Ghana, the work package is made up of IRC Ghana (WP lead), Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo.

The local CSO partners are Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Ghana WASH Journalists Network (GWJN), Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) and Conservation Foundation (CF).

The media dialogue on WASH and IWRM is part of the Watershed project activities to highlight issues of WASH and IWRM and to advocate for improvement.

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh

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