Illegal mining, Farming, and deforestation along the banks of water bodies on some parts of the Black Volta River are major challenges to water resources management in the Upper West Region.
On the part of ground water Resources, the major challenges faced are the uncontrolled drilling of boreholes and the use of unlicensed drilling companies in the drilling and construction of boreholes.
Dr Joachim Agiiwe Abungba, the Head of Black Volta Basin, Water Resources Commission raised these concerns during a tour with students and other stakeholders around the stretch of the Black Volta River to mark World Water Day celebration in the region.
The Day was on the theme: “Accelerating Change” and the tour was to enable the students and the stakeholders to see how they could individually accelerate the change in water resources management.
The Water level in the basin as at March 22, 2023, was 4.12 metres and will rise to 13.28 metres during its peak in the rainy season.
The students were drawn from the Wa Senior High, St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary, Wa Senior High/Technical School and Jamiat Islamic Girls Senior High and charged to act as agents of change, advocating for the protection and sustainable utilisation of water resources to help address why so many people had been without access to safe water.
Dr Abungba noted that the Unwillingness on the part of water users in the basin to register their operations with the Water Resources Commission mandated to regulate and manage the water resources, was also a challenge and needed to be addressed.
“Without a proper register of water users in the basin, it will be difficult to regulate activities for sustainable utilisation of the basin’s water resources,” he pointed out.
He said as part of efforts to the attainment of the Goal Six of the Sustainable Development Goals, which targeted water for all by 2030, to among other actions, there was the need to advocate for the protection and restoration of ecosystems to safeguard the existence of water resources for use today and that of posterity.
Dr Abungba announced that the Black Volta Basin Secretariat had developed an integrated water resources management plan to ensure sustainable exploitation, utilisation and management of the basin’s water resources while maintaining biodiversity and the quality of the environment for future generations.
He explained that all major global issues from health to hunger, gender equality to employment, education to industry, and disasters to peace were hampered by dysfunction in the water cycle.
The Head of Black Volta Basin, said it was sad that the world’s population human rights to water and sanitation had not been met, as numerous farms, industries, schools, enterprises, and healthcare facilities were being held back because of water and sanitation challenges.
He called for urgent measures to speed up efforts towards achieving sustainable water management practices through collective efforts so that the challenges being faced in the water sector could be solved.
Mr Ato Quansah, the Regional Director of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, appealed to community leaders to refrain from the practice of burying dead bodies in the compounds and rooms.
They should also make sure that old cemeteries were properly demarcated to stop people from drilling boreholes in those areas because underground water could be contaminated and unsafe for human consumption.