Editorial

Be committed to managing water resources!!

 Seventy-five per cent or three-fourth of the earth’s surface is supposed to be covered with water but human activities and other causes like climate change are causing a deple­tion.

Water is said to be the most precious resource for the existence and survival on earth and so its wise use is imperative.

This is why any call or promptings to manage water resources anywhere must be treated with all seriousness.

Last Monday, the Assistant Director-General of the Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Dr Abebe Haile-Ga­briel, called for concerted ef­fort in managing the country’s water resources.

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Even though he can say the same thing to any country, Ghanaians must take it that on the occasion of the media briefing on the celebrations of this year’s World Food Day, which falls on October 16, 2023, Dr Haile-Gabriel was specifically speaking to them.

We say this because one of his supporting remarks captures the negative attitude of Ghanaians towards water sources and resources.

Listen to him: “Even though water is life and the unseen hero of the world, its resources are being taken for granted, thus depriving society of its profitable use.”

We can guess that the FAO’s second top man, while speak­ing, had in mind all the uses of water that benefit society in various ways such as the uses in homes, agriculture, industry, marine transport, electricity and entertainment, as well as being the habitat for certain creatures and source of certain resources.

The experts say 95 per cent of the earth’s water is salty and that only two per cent is fresh for consumption.

Therefore, the talk of man­aging water does not concern only water for consumption but for other uses.

In fact, the amounts of wa­ter used in agriculture, indus­try and electricity generation make that for consumption infinitesimal.

However, we can say that if Ghanaians persist in their neg­ative attitude towards water sources in the country, even the little needed for consump­tion will be very hard to come by one day.

Here is a country where people fill water sources like streams and wetlands to build houses, and also a place where people throw refuse into drains, rivers and other water sources, with galamsey, a major cause of pollution of water sources, being common­place.

Water Resources Manage­ment (WRM) is said to be the process of planning, devel­oping, and managing water resources, in terms of both water quantity and quality, across all water uses.

It includes the institutions, infrastructure, incentives, and information systems that support and guide water man­agement.

The FAO’s call for con­certed effort in managing the country’s water resources, therefore, means that there are stakeholders who must come together to do so.

We can say that these stake­holders include the central government, state agencies, politicians, other public offi­cials and certain individuals with clout such as chiefs and these can be effective only when they choose to apply the law.

The citizenry cannot act because they are mostly the culprits and besides, the com­plaints of the willing law-abid­ing ones are hardly acted upon by state agencies like the assemblies and security institutions.

The FAO’s charge to the academia to foster innovation; the youth to use their music to raise awareness about water and its importance; and to the media to write to local author­ities to keep them informed about government’s strategies aimed at prioritising water use cannot be glossed over.

However, it must not be lost on the country’s managers that they have a bigger role to play in water management be­cause they have the power to commandeer the state towards that objective and cause the application of the law when it matters.

At this point, we expect these managers to reverse the mess in the country’s wet­lands, including Ramsar sites, to demonstrate commitment to managing water sources and resources.

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