Government to strengthen Groundwater policies and regulations – Cecilia Dapaah

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World Water Day

Ghana’s Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources Hon. Cecilia Dapaah has hinted that the government has set priorities towards the realization of responsive groundwater policies and actions in order to promote groundwater sustainability.

According to her, the government is strengthening policies and regulations for groundwater protection and long-term sustainability as part of an integrated water resource management framework.

Stressing that, strategic actions are needed to make groundwater visible in order to help address the country’s water crisis.

“One of the most urgent socioeconomic development issues us is how to secure and manage all our water resources, including surface water and groundwater.

Groundwater pollution is also a concern since it can take years, sometimes decades or centuries to restore,” she pointed out.

The Sector Minister made these remarks in a speech read on her behalf at this year’s World Water Day which was held at Dodowa under the theme: “Ground –Making the Invisible Visible.”

Adding that, the government is expanding its expertise and understanding of Ghana’s hydro-geological setting in order to provide reliable groundwater resource information to support water supply, agriculture, industry, tourism trade, and commerce.

This she said, good groundwater management is needed to achieve the SDG target 6.6 to protect and restore the water-related ecosystem and SDG target 15.1 on the conservation of freshwater ecosystem and their services.

According to her, the climate is predicted to have a major impact on water resources, with more frequent surface-water droughts and intense rainfall events.

Hence adaptation to avoid future water-supply crises will require the availability and judicious use of water storage.

The Sector Minister, however, seized the opportunity to entreat all and sundry to desist from engaging in illegal mining, deforestation, uncontrolled sand winning, and other activities that have the tendency of deteriorating water quality in the country.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Ghana Mrs. Anne –Claire Dufay, in her remark said: “As Climate change will continue to put stress on water resources availability, UNDP has partnered with Ministry of Environment Science, Technology and Innovative (MESTI) and Water Resources Commission.”

This she said, the objective is to support the development of integrated Climate smart water management and investment plans for the Black Volta and the Oti River basis.

According to her, these plans would provide an important linkage in addressing climate risk in both the main basin and the sub-basins.

In addition, the government and the UN cooperated to strengthen WASH indicators in the District Health Information System and the monitoring of WASH services in Health Care Facilities.

“Although some progress has been made in addressing inequalities in access to WASH, challenges persist with many people relying on unsafe water supplies.

According to the 2021 Population and Household Survey, about 8 percent of households [ about 2.4 million people including about 1 million children ] depend on unimproved water sources.

And many of them are in remote areas where groundwater is the main source for drinking.” she stated.

She, therefore, entreated all stakeholders to commit to intensifying collaboration among sectors and cross borders in order to sustainably balance the needs of the masses and harness groundwater for current and future generations.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Azoulay disclosed that groundwater currently accounts for 49% of the water used for domestic purposes and around 25% of all water used for irrigation. Nearly, 50% of the world’s urban population depends on underground water resources.

According to her, as the planet adapts to a changing climate and rising population groundwater will play a critical role in meeting the growing demand for food and drinking water.

“Yet this essential resource faces serious risks – including inadequate protection and sometimes irreversible pollution.

For these reasons, on World Water Day 2022, UNESCO is celebrating this essential resource –because better protecting and managing groundwater is our collective responsibility,” she stated.

In a world of ever-growing demand where surface water resources are increasingly scarce and under more stress, the value of groundwater needs to be recognized by everyone- and UNESCO is fully committed to this goal.

 

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh 

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