Ghana's water availability figure of about 40,000 barrels for each person a year in 1960, going by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) figures, dwindled to about 10,178 barrels annually in 2013.
This means there has been a whooping reduction of about 60 per cent of water that is available to every Ghanaian in the spate of 53 years.
The reduction also translates from 110 barrels daily for each person as pertained in 1960 when the population was 6.5 million, to 48 barrels in 2013, if the available water in the country were to be shared equally among the about 25 million current Ghanaian population.
These revelations were made by Mr Minta A Aboagye, a former Director of Water at the Water Directorate of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing in Accra last week Tuesday, December 17, 2013.
Speaking at the launch of the first ever Ghana WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) Awards whose first edition is slated for 2014, Mr Minta Aboagye said the most worrying aspect of the situation was what it would be in the next 35 years (in 2050), when Ghana’s population is projected to have hit 40 million.
“By then if the phenomenon of climate change has not wreaked havoc and our annual renewable water remains the same, the yearly per capita water availability will diminish to only 1,330m3or 292,600 gallons,” he said.
According to Mr Aboagye, when that happens the daily rationing that would be available to each Ghanaian would be 3.64m3 or just 801 gallons a day equivalent to about 18 barrels.
“This is a frightening situation considering the fact that currently the country is classified as water-stressed,” the former Director of Water said.
Importance of WASH Awards
Relating the country’s dire water situation to the significance of the awards, Mr Aboagye said; “Indeed we all know the causative issues. The trees that provide forest cover and play an essential role in the hydrological cycle in the replenishment of our water resources has and are still being decimated with nonchalant abandon, while the land itself which is the recipient of the rains that run off to fill our streams, rivers and lakes is seriously violated with all forms of degradation, thus affecting our sources of water supply.
“We all pretend nothing is happening, turn our eyes the other way, then throw up our hands in despair as if nothing can be done about it and keep complaining to ourselves. But the situation can be reversed through our own initiatives and efforts, individually and collectively. And those who champion the cause of the reversal must be recognised and celebrated in order to sustain the process and to serve as a beacon of hope for the future,” he stated.
Regarding Sanitation, Mr Aboagye said although the challenges were daunting there was the need to find credible ways of motivating innovators and those whose policies had given a boost to ensuring clean and hygienic environment.
The WASH Awards
The Ghana WASH awards have been instituted by the Ghana Country Water Partnership(GCWP), the local chapter of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) , an organisationfounded in 1996 by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), to foster integrated water resource management (IWRM).
According to Chairman for GCWP, Mr Nii Boi Ayibotele, the awards is aimed at recognising the contributions made so far in the WASH sector, in order to motivate and promote innovative interventions to tackle the challenges in the sector.
It is also meant to showcase the role the private sector is playing by forging partnerships among themselves and with government to achieve results.
· According to the United Nations (UN) Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) AQUASTAT, an Information System on Water and Agriculture, Ghana currently produces 53,200 million m3 (11.7 trillion gallons) of water every year.The annual awards would recognise individuals, organisations, academicians, research scientists; organised groups, non-governmental organisations as well as the media among others, for their innovative roles in advancing WASH in the country.
Selection for the awards would be based on nominations, which would be vetted by a purposely selected committee that would serve as a jury.
Mr Ayibotele however said the actual component of the awards would be determined by a committee that would be put together to set out the criteria and plan the event.
Writer’s email: Edmund.Asante@graphic.com.gh
· The GWP has 84 Country Water Partnerships that provide a neutral and multi-stakeholder platform for dialogue and facilitating change processes.· The Ghana WASH Awards would be the first ever exclusive awards for the WASH sector.