The Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alban Bagbin, has said that statistics available to him indicate that only 62 percent of the country’s population as at last year had access to potable drinking water.
He said the quantity of water available to Ghanaians has reduced to about a fourth of what it was in 1960, which had reduced from 3,709 gallons per head to 995 gallons, due to the rise in population, saying it will further shrink to a sixth by 2050.
Bagbin said this at the Central Regional Water Forum held for stakeholders in the water sector in Cape Coast. It was on the theme: “Water Sector in the Central Region and the Way Forward”. He blamed the deterioration of water quality and quantity on the pollution of water sources by human activities such as illegal mining, bush burning, improper use of agro-chemicals for farming and dumping of waste into or near water courses.
Mr Bagbin noted that the available surface water in the Central Region alone is about 1.3 billion cubic meters per annum which could adequately meet the required water demand of the region up to 2025. He however pointed out that available water resources were reducing due to the steady decline in rainfall of between five to 10 per cent.
The Minister said in order to ensure improvement in the quality and quantity of water resources of the region and the country at large, there was the need for sustainable and pragmatic measures and actions.
He said as at the end of 2010, 50 per cent of the urban population in the region had access to safe drinking water and that the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) would soon complete the laying of distribution pipes for the people to enjoy uninterrupted water supply.
Mr Bagbin said ongoing projects in the region include the VRA Thermal Plant Additional Works Project for Cape Coast, the European Union/Government of Ghana (GoG) Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Assin Fosu and a GoG Rural Water Supply Project, which is the construction of 565 boreholes with hand pumps in eight districts.
He said some measures being carried out by the Ministry for sustainable water supply include a comprehensive development programme on water, maintenance of water bodies, rain water harvest, institutional reforms as well as advocacy and public awareness creation.