The Ghana Water Company Limited has said that the continuous destruction of water bodies through illegal mining was increasing the cost of water due to the rising cost of aluminum sulphate used for the treatment.
According to the Managing Director of the Company, Clifford Braimah, the volume of water supply to the people has reduced because about 50 per cent of the water is thrown out for high level of salinity instead of the usual 5 per cent.
He mentioned that managing of their machines has also become a problem which hasalways compelled them to stop and maintain them regularly.
The cost of treatment, he noted, was affecting them to reduce production, because anytime the machines were stopped for maintenance, people would not have water to drink,causing the cost to multiply, and “for that matter cannot treat illegal mining as a joke”.
MrBraimah was speaking to the Ghanaian Times during a tour with the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia AbenaDapaah, along some water bodies at the mining communities in the AtwimaMponua District of Ashanti region.
It offered the Minister the opportunity to have firsthand information on the state of river offin and to ascertain the level of destruction caused by illegal mining in the surrounding areas.
The visit took the team to Abompe and Bedabuo, near Nyinahini in the district.
Referring to a $1billion secured by the government for water projects mentioned by the Minster at a mini durbar, MrBriamah indicated the money was being used to provide water in eight towns, including Sunyani, Takoradi, Wenchi, Keta, Yendi, Damongo, and Upper East.
At a mini durbar at Bedabuo, the Minister gave a strong caution to those engaged in illegal mining activities on river bodies to shun from the act in order to save the waters and environment or face a punitive punishment in line with the laws of the country.
MsDapaah said mining along the river banks was an evil act and a threat to the lives and the future of the citizenry, hence must stop as a matter of urgency.
The Minister said the President, and for that matter government, was the only custodian of the mineral resources, and it was important every patriotic citizen help to protect the heritage, which are the forest environment and water bodies.
She hinted that there would be a taskforce in every town and villages because the inhabitants were very well aware of the whereabouts of the illegal miners, and could lead the various security agencies, including the Police, Military and National Security to arrest anyone found culpable irrespective of their status, being a foreigner or citizen of the country.
The Minister was of the view that in protecting the water bodies, the government would be able to provide clean water and environment to the citizenry, thereby on the path to achieving SDG goal six.
MsDapaah appealed to the inhabitants to expose any foreigner engaged in illegal mining in the area to face the law, and also cautioned Ghanaians assisting foreigners to mine in rivers.
Chief of Ntobroso, Nana Atakora Mensah, said river Offin, which stretches from Kyenkyenta through Afepaye, is polluted by the illegal activities within AtwimaNwabiagya South, Ntabano and AhafoAno South, where such activities were ongoing in river Makran, and called for taskforce to monitor the activities in every community in the district.
FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, NYINAHINI