Accra, March 22, Ghanadot -
number one basic necessity of life, covers
two-thirds of the Earth’s surface.
But only 2.5%
of this constitutes fresh water, while less than 1%
water is renewable, only through snow and rainfall,
at a rate of 40,000-50,000kilometres square per
the United Nations (UN) and other water experts,
water availability on planet Earth is
approximately 104million cubic kilometers, out of
which, 97% is salty.
over 1.1billion people lack access to safe water,
and 2.6billion live without proper sanitation.
fresh water available to mankind, is not evenly
distributed throughout the world, and is often not
available where it is needed, resulting in large dry
Water scarcity is exacerbated in many parts of the world, including
Ghana, by growing populations, greater per
capita-water demand, and diminishing fresh water
sources (due to drought conditions, desertification
and other degradations of the ecosystems). Hence
nations across the globe have become desperate, and
are trying to find water by hook
or crook to
meet the water demands of their citizens.
article is intended to commemorate World Water Day,
which falls on Sunday, March 22 every year. The Day
is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED),
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to draw global attention
to the looming water crisis and the need for
collaborative measures to address the problem.
The theme for
this year’s celebration is “Shared Water-Shared
Opportunities” with special focus on trans
The theme aims at nurturing the
opportunities for co-operation in trans
water management that can help build mutual respect,
understanding and trust among countries and promote
peace, security and sustainable economic growth.
country seeking to satisfy its water needs from
limited water resources, some foresee a future
filled with conflict. But history shows that
cooperation, not conflict, is the most common
response to trans boundary water management issues.
water-related diseases result in over five million
deaths annually, most of them children. The impact
of climate change adds an alarming new dimension to
the challenge of delivering rights to water and
sanitation, which already threatens to overwhelm
national and global strategies.
water is inexhaustible; it has no substitute that is
why the emerging water crisis in Ghana is a major
obstacle, which if not given a second look, would
obliterate the developmental gains in the country.
therefore requires the aggressive attention of the
powers that be, to solve it before it gets out of
It is in view
of this that a group, calling itself the National
Coalition against Privatisation of Water (NCAP), is
passionately calling for the termination of the
Management Contract between Aqua Vitens Rand Limited
(AVRL) and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).
The GWCL, acting under government instructions and World Bank
guidance, contracted AVRL to manage its 82 urban
water systems for a five-year period. GWCL laid off
1,600 trained Ghanaian staff for an insulting sum of
$8 million. By contrast AVRL brought in a 12-man
“expert” workforce that earns $10million, and other
incentives including tax exemptions for five years”,
the coalition noted.
the Chairman of the Coalition, Alhassan Adam, the
contract states among other things, that AVRL must
ensure water supply levels to all the urban delivery
points covered by the contract.
rationing and cut-offs are rampant, the
situation is becoming serious in the big cities such as
Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, Cape Coast, Ho, Koforidua,
amongst others, whilst cholera, malaria and typhoid
are on the ascendancy”, he emphasized.
For the past
months there has been not been
a week in which there are
no reports of water shortages in these cities.
has become a norm such that AVRL has come our
several times to justify it by passing the blame to
dry weather and other climatic conditions in the
2007, the Parliament of Ghana had to suspend
sittings, due to water shortages, which made the use
of its washrooms impossible. This is unprecedented
in the history of Ghana.