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Human activities hamper safe water supply in Ghana: minister

Ghana’s attempt to achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is hampered by human activities, including unsafe agriculture practices, said Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Monday.
Dapaah said at a press briefing that breaching buffer zones along natural water bodies that serve as raw water sources for treatment and sand winning also threatened the achievement of this target.
“Sand and Stone Winning, Illegal mining activities at the intake, farming practices along buffer zones with the introduction of fertilizers and other pollutants into water bodies, and the release of effluent into water bodies remain major threats to our safe water delivery,” said the minister.
Dapaah said these activities continued to strain the water utilities in their quest to treat and distribute safe and affordable drinking water to all individuals and households in the country.
The minister estimated Ghana’s natural freshwater resources to be 53.2 billion cubic meters per year, with 14 percent in use.
She said the government would map out hydrologically sensitive areas subject to degradation, erosion, drought, flooding, and pollution from human activities within forest reserves and other selected sources of rivers and wetlands as a first step to arresting these threats.
She said the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, through the Water Resources Commission, was implementing and facilitating the creation of riparian buffer zones through tree planting to restore the ecological health of degraded water bodies.
The 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) report put the percentage of households with access to safe drinking water services nationwide in Ghana at 87.7 percent.
According to the PHC Report, 96.4 percent of urban populations and 74.4 percent of rural populations had access to safe and affordable water supply.
Target-six of the SDGs requires that countries achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030.
The SDGs also require the improvement in water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping, minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals and materials into water bodies, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater, and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse of wastewater. Enditem

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