WRC intensifies arrest of unlicensed water drilling coys

The Water Resources Commission (WRC) says it has intensified efforts to arrest and prosecute unlicensed water drilling companies operating in the country.

According to Head of Planning at the Commission, Dr Bob Arthur, about 10 unlicensed water drilling companies were arrested and made to face severe sanctions, including confiscation of rig and imposition of GHC60,000 fine for operating without a permit.

He said the WRC, as at last year, had registered and licensed 200 water drilling companies across the country in line with Regulations 23 (1) and (3) of the Drilling License and Groundwater Development Regulations, (2006) L.I. 1827.

He, therefore, urged the public to engage the services of licensed water drilling companies that utilise their expertise in approved equipment for prospecting and drilling water through an environmentally friendly means for safe water.

At a forum on water in Accra yesterday, Dr Arthur noted that members of the public who engage the services of unlicensed companies could also be prosecuted as provided by the law.

The forum is part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Water Day scheduled for March 22, on the theme “Groundwater: Making the invisible visible.”

 The theme was aimed at drawing attention to the hidden water resource which had become critically important but was yet to be fully recognised in sustainable development policymaking and highlight the vital role of groundwater in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems and climate change adaptation.

Dr Arthur said any company that was caught for the second time engaging in illegal drilling would be banned from operating in any part of the country.

As required by law, he explained that, owners of boreholes were to register their boreholes with the Commission to enable the effective management and sustainable utilisation of groundwater resources in the country.

He said currently, the country has good quality groundwater across the country with an availability average yield of six to 180 meters cubic per hour.

However, he stated that only about five per cent of the available groundwater was extracted and used in the country.

Dr Anthony Dua of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, Water Research Institute (CSIR-WRI), advised the public to test the quality of water extracted from boreholes or wells every six months at the various water laboratories to ensure it was safe for human consumption.

“This is important because the water may look clean and clear but it may have qualities that may be harmful,” he said.

Enumerating the importance of groundwater, he stated that, it provided almost 50 per cent of drinking water worldwide, 40 per cent of water for irrigation worldwide, and sustains biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems such as wetlands and rivers.

Dr Dua explained that groundwater was a strategic resources for climate change adaptation and critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (six) which focused on the provision of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Alex Frimpong Karikari, Chief Executive Officer of Kari Borehole, said the preference for cheap water drilling operators by a section of the public had resulted in the continuous existence of unlicensed drilling companies.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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