The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, in collaboration with the Water Resources Commission and the United Nations, has held a symposium to commemorate the 2013 World Water Day in Accra.
The celebration, on the theme: “International Year of Cooperation,” is to create awareness both on the potential for increased cooperation and on the challenges facing water management in the light of increasing demand for water access, allocation and services.
Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, said the fulfillment of the basic human needs were dependent on water, however, management of water was especially challenging due to its uneven distribution in time and space, rapid urbanization, pollution, and climate change.
He said demand for water to satisfy the needs of the growing population for food production and energy, and increase in industrial and domestic uses could assume an increasingly contentious role and a wide variety of conflicting interests.
Alhaji Dauda said this provided the opportunity for cooperation among users and other stakeholders.
He said the theme for this year’s celebration served as an inspiration for the intensification of awareness and also served as motivation for all to come out with initiatives and arrangements that would be beneficial for international, national, regional and local cooperation for improved water productivity and sustained water resources.
Alhaji Dauda said it also called on all to reflect on the state of the local and international waters, and also take action on the best ways of equitably sharing water in order to meet the ever-growing demands.
He said it was also a clarion call on political leaders, community leadership, traditional authorities, and stakeholders as well as the media to educate people to appreciate the need to be more responsible towards water use and conservation.
He said the degradation of water bodies through illegal activities posed serious threats to health, aggravated scarcity, and was a source of potential dispute among users and communities.
He said while government was taking pragmatic actions to control such activities to curb the degradation, there was the need for all to come up with well meaning collaborative interventions to support the menace.
Mr Senyo Theodore Amengor, Ag Manager, Ghana Urban Water Limited, said the celebration was to bring together stakeholders from different sectors to dialogue on issues of cooperation that would facilitate the protection of water bodies for future generation as well as promote innovative solutions for nurturing water cooperation.
He said the event should not be the end of the celebration but should continue throughout the year as the theme denotes.
Mr Tirso Dos Santos, Director and Representative of UNESCO, Accra Cluster Office, said water was a vital resource and held the key to sustainable development and that there was the need for a collaborative effort to protect and manage the resources.
He said in relation to water, sanitation must also be taken into consideration since water bodies must be kept under good hygienic conditions.
Mr Dos Santos said water was a common resource and called on all stakeholders to use the commodity wisely to enable everybody to have access to it.