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‘Galamsey’ holds back Bunso treatment plant from providing free water for residents

Residents living in and around Bunso in the Eastern Region will not enjoy the full package of the government’s announced free three-months water supply.

This is because the activities of illegal miners are holding back the Bunso Water Treatment Plant from producing water to hundreds for households.

According to the Ghana Statistical Service data from the 2010 census, the East Akim District where Bunso is located has a population of 167,896.

Coronavirus: Gov’t absorbs water bills for the next three months – Akufo-Addo

The operations of the illegal miners, popularly known as galamsey, have severely affected the turbidity of the Birim River, making it impossible for the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to treat and provide water to households.

Birim River at the Bunso plant abstraction point

According to the Eastern Regional Public Relations Officer of the GWCL, Kwadwo Daase, the company has had to suspend water treatment intermittently since the beginning of 2020.

Coronavirus: You’ll enjoy gov’t’s free water even if you owe GWCL – Minister

But the situation worsened this week, forcing authorities to suspend it indefinitely.

He said until authorities intervened to stop the activities of illegal miners in the area, residents would not enjoy government’s free three-months water supply in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

“As and when the quality of the Birim River improves, then we start operation… We as a company wish everybody will enjoy that full benefit of the three months freebie because we’re ever ready to work and deliver to the satisfaction of all Ghanaians. But if we are having such challenges, there is nothing we can do,” he told theghanareport.com in an interview.

He also revealed that the Bunso Water Treatment Plant barely operated 24 hours without being suspending operations over increased raw water turbidity.

“We barely produce 24-48 hours continuously. Ever since we entered this year, we barely operate 24-48 hours without suspending the plant. So you can imagine.”

At least GH¢200m! Cost of Akufo-Addo’s three-month free water supply revealed

The Bunso Water Treatment Plant pumps raw water from the Birim River to produce about 60,000 gallons of treated water to serve residents in communities such as Bunso, Nsutem , Etukrom, and its environs.

The expected raw water turbidity level ideal for treatment should be less than 3000NTU, but the current water turbidity in the Birim river is close to 8000NTU. This is almost three times worse than the required turbidity level.

The inability of GWCL to provide a constant flow of water to households is likely to impede the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana, as there are campaigns for persons to wash their hands frequently to avoid the spread of the virus.

‘It’s now 313’ – Ghana records more coronavirus cases

The Eastern Region is among seven regions to have recorded COVID-19. The total number of coronavirus cases in Ghana as of April 9, 2020 stood at 313 with six deaths.

18 Comments
  1. Daryl says

    Covid-19 came and it’s good government is giving it the needed attention in the affected. Unfortunately in doing so, galamsey operators are running rampage in the hinterlands and rolling back any semblance of success achieved in addressing the Galamsey menace.

    1. Nana Asante says

      Government needs to address all issues not just what is in the public eye and the urgent pile. I am appalled that months after Eco-Conscious Citizens sent a letter to His Excellency the President urging action on galamsey, the criminality persists with the result that nearly 170 000 in this district are not getting the clean water they need because GWCL cannot treat the water. This is unacceptable. Action must be taken NOW. #ProtectourForestsandWaters

    2. Dr Jak Beula says

      What a wonderfully refreshing and positive article. It is encouraging to know that we have environmental activists sll over Africa who are prepared to hold their government to account. Those lone voices when swelled become choruses that effect change. To be fair, I believe the government of Ghana ard receptive to the voice of thd people. This post is in support of those petitioning the Ghanaian government, and to offer mh voice in harmony.

  2. Anonymous says

    When did we become obsessed with this illegal mining?

    Let me send a *Namaqua dove* 🐦 to find the answer at the premises of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Mineral Commission, the Chamber of Mines, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI)

  3. Awula Serwah says

    Water is vital to life. We really need to get a grip on illegal mining. We urge H.E President Nana Akufo-Addo to show the same leadership he is showing in combating Covid-19 to deal with the scourge of illegal mining once and for all. We all need clean drinking water to survive. #ProtectOurForestsAndWaters

  4. Sarah says

    This is so ridiculous. How can we allow a few people greed inconvenience the health and safety of a lot? Why is this allowed to happen. Water is life and the people polluting our rivers should be dealt with now. The wicked people behind this scourge should be arrested.

  5. Kwaku says

    How bad does it have to get before people put common sense before making money at all cost? Do those engaged in galamsey intend cooking, bathing and washing their hands with bauxite, gold, or whatever minerals they’re illegally and irresponsibly mining? The government can not be unaware of articles such as this. If you’re concerned, then you’re welcome mark Earth Day on April 22 by tweeting or facebooking President @NAkufoAddo using hashtag #ProtectOurForestsAndWaters

    1. Anonymous says

      Water is life , the president should please use his good office to protect our forestry and water bodies.
      #Protectourforestryandwaterbodies

      1. Samari says

        Let us protect our forestry and water bodies. Mr President, please use your good office to protect our forestry

    2. Awula Serwah says

      I suspect the illegal miners have decided to take advantage of the fact that the focus is on Covid-19. This of course is no excuse as illegal mining has been going on for too long. The authorities need to act decisively NOW.

      1. George Kingsley-Agbley says

        Water is life

        #protectourforestsandwaterd

      2. Seth Appiah-Kubi says

        The President thought it wise that the most natural thing to do is to make the most important priced commodity for human survival, free of charge to the entire citizenry of Ghana, for the next three months during this period of COVID-19. And he made it free of charge for even those who can pay without complain. In other words, he made it free for both the rich and the poor. Does it mean that it would have been ethically unwise/wrong to even let the rich pay for their own water in this period of crisis? That should underscore the importance and irreplaceability of water to both the rich and poor. Why doesn’t the president extend the same level of good thinking to protecting and securing our water systems with all the authority under his disposal? Why are a greater section of the population; rich and poor, quite and watch on for few people including state officials and politicians destroy our water bodies through galamsey and other illegal and so-called legal activities? Why are the citizenry quite when they are the ones who will be impacted the most when our river bodies are all destroyed. Do you think destroying our watersheds and our water systems worth all the money we will make from bauxite mining (we have mined bauxite for 80 years already in Awaso)? Do you thing the Atewa forest which is the headwaters for 3 rivers and over 100 other streams and supports about 3 major basins, worth few roads that will be gone in about five to ten years time anyway?
        Coronavirus meltdown is temporary and will pass very soon, but as a nation there’s an impending meltdown awaiting us, a meltdown of water shortage if we continue the path we are on. A meltdown that will affect both the rich and the poor. If the President is prepared to make water free for both the rich and the poor during this period of COVID-19 then he should be prepared to secure our water supply for ever, that will be the best legacy for Ghana. hastag#ProctOurForestAndWaters

  6. Evelyn Addor says

    The importance of water at this critical moment cannot be overemphasize,it time all stakeholders rise to protect our forest and waters

  7. Nana Gayle says

    Water resources sustain life! If we destroy them we are doomed. Illegal mining and indiscriminate deforestation benefits no one- there is nothing to be gained by turning our faces away from the cries of nature. We need to listen to the science and implement appropriate policies to save our environment.
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    #protectourforestsandwaters
    #atewaforest
    #ghana
    #naturalafrica

  8. Anonymous says

    For decades we have advocated for clean water bodies for all in our Beloved-Ghana for all our people. When will our advocacy move Government officials ( places as public servants) in seats of authority regard us all – and do. Do what is morally right. When will they use their seats of authority – and steady pay checks to roll out the authority they have to serve all peoples in Ghana. Dr. Brenya Twumasi

  9. Dedo Mate-Kodjo says

    Protecting our water resources is not rocket science. We cannot allow the greed and selfishness of a few, in the midst of lack of policy implementation and effective sanctions rob us of our right to sustainable clean potable water! #protectourforestsandwaters

  10. Cynthia Labi says

    Dear Mr. President, we are grateful for the leadership that you are giving and the resources you are throwing into the fight against the coronavirus. In order to sustain all these good hygiene practices we need water – clean and available water. So please provide the same leadership to protect, preserve and maintain our forests and water bodies. Please do whatever it takes to ensure that access to clean and affordable water is a reality for all Ghanaians and not just a dream. Thanks in advance for listening and acting.

  11. Yetunde Zwennes-Kwabwe says

    Dear President Nana Addo Akuffo-Addo,
    Thank you for all you are doing in this fight against Covid-19. Thank you for free water for three months. Due to galamsey the water from the Birim river is so polluted that the Bonsu Water Treatment plant cannot treat the water and so cannot provide 167,000 residents in the Bonsu area and its environs with water. Please stop galamsey and all the activities that are polluting our rivers, water bodies and forests.
    This situation is very serious and will get much worse if nothing is done. Bauxite mining in Atewa Forest Reserve with threaten Accra’s water supply. Please stop these activities before it’s too late. We still just about have a chance to prevent a catastrophe.

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