Groundwater Resources Development in Ghana: Past, Present and Future

Show simple item record Banoeng-Yakubo, B.K. 2019-05-14T11:13:48Z 2019-05-14T11:13:48Z 2017
dc.description.abstract Water is fundamental to the survival of mankind and has played critical roles in the management of our ecosystem. Water predominates the earth’s surface and covers 71.4% of the Earth. Fresh groundwater is the source of 30.1% of all fresh water on Earth. (Fitts, 2002) and contributes 95% of available freshwater. Many cities in the world, including in the United States of America, Europe, China, Indonesia and Africa depend wholly or partially on groundwater for domestic, agricultural and industrial water supplies. In the USA, 22% of total national withdrawals come from groundwater sources. In Africa, the Great Manmade River of Libya was created from the Nubian Sandstone aquifer and supplies most of Libya for domestic, agricultural and Industrial uses. Groundwater is the main source of water in all Sub-Saharan countries for domestic and agriculture purposes. In Ghana, the whole of the Keta basin towns, Wa, Breman Asikuma, Nkawkaw, Axim and most towns and district capitals rely on groundwater for domestic water purposes. The expanding suburbs of our cities and the struggle for water in these peri-urban areas have driven those residents who can afford to seek alternate water supply in groundwater. Governments, over the years, have tended towards the provision of groundwater as key to the socio-economic development of the large rural population. Ghana’s water policy recognizes water, in all its various occurrences, its management and uses, as an essential component of human development. Ghana’s effort to provide groundwater as a sustainable water supply source is being hampered as a result of a number of factors, including the current population dynamics which continue to dilute the achievements. The 1984 population census placed Ghana’s population as 12,716,228 with a growth rate of 3.32%. The current projected population figures by the United Nations is 29,463,643 (WPP, 2017) with a reduced growth rate of 2.18%. The rapid population increase is affecting gains in government effort to improve rural water coverage and living conditions of the poor and vulnerable. Ghana is underlain by metamorphosed crystalline rocks such as phyllites, schist, metavolcanics and granitoids as well as indurated to consolidated sedimentary rocks and many others which are together termed hard rock in hydrogeology, and Quaternary to Mesozoic sedimentary basins, such as the Keta and Tano Basins. These rocks define the groundwater resources of the country. The occurrence of groundwater in these rocks, therefore, depends on secondary permeability developed from fractures, veins and faults as a result of past tectonic activities. These rocks have been deformed variously as a result of past tectonic activities and the extent and degree of deformation defines the aquifer characteristics in the country. Weathering is largely enhanced by secondary fractures to develop enough permeability for the storage of groundwater for rural water supply. Using data from some of the boreholes drilled through these rocks to analyse for the characteristics of the aquifers and results of the Hydrogeological Assessment Project (HAP) (Carrier et al, 2008), Banoeng-Yakubo et al (2011) zoned the country into five Hydrogeological Provinces on the basis of geology, structure, borehole, aquifer and water quality parameters. Generally, groundwater in the basement aquifers such as the Birimian metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks, and the Tarkwaian sedimentary rocks are the most productive, followed by aquifers in the Pan African Province. Groundwater in the Crystalline Basement Provinces occurs mainly in the saprolite, saprock and in the fractured bedrock and is the third most productive while aquifers in the Volta Basin Province are the least productive. The Coastal Sedimentary aquifers are the overall most productive in quantity but must be developed with care to avoid intrusion of salt water into the aquifers. The classification is important as it can be used as a guide in the procurement of consultants and contractors in a cost-effective process to ensure clean and adequate sustainable water supply to achieve SDG goal 6. In 1994, Community Water and Sanitation Division (CWSD) of GWSC was created with the remit and responsibility for water and sanitation in rural communities and small towns. The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) which was created in 1998, by Act 564 to facilitate the provision of safe water and sanitation services to rural communities, also had a mandate to promote sustainable water supply in the communities and small towns. Rural water supply was decentralized and responsibility transferred to the Municipal/District Assemblies. As one of the key mandates, CWSA was to prescribe standards and guidelines for safe water supply and provision of related sanitation services in rural communities and small towns and support the District Assemblies to ensure compliance by the suppliers of the services. A National Community Water and Sanitation Project (NCWP) as a vehicle to implement government policies on community water supply. During the process of the implementation of the NCWSP, it became abundantly clear that there was no cross-sectoral link between CWSA and WRC. In order to sanitize borehole drilling and ensure efficiency in the management of groundwater resources in an organized and co-ordinated manner the Drilling Licence and Groundwater Development Regulations (LI 1827) was promulgated. The situation in the country is that borehole drilling costs are high and highly variable. Some of the boreholes are poorly constructed worsened by lack of oversight by the District Assemblies and non- compliance of the Drilling Licence and Groundwater Development Regulations (LI 1827). The role of Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) as the technical backstop to the District Assemblies in the provision of rural water supply for local communities and small towns appears to have been weakened due to lack of capacity and accountability at the District Assembly levels. The responsibility of geoscientists as consultants to lead the scientific location of sites for drilling and as supervisors of groundwater development projects is being eroded by the non-compliance of LI1928 and the procurement Act at the Assembly. NGOs, churches and governmental organisations, who through their own efforts, secure funding for groundwater supply projects, do not work through CWSA but place their own adverts to procure turn- key consultants/ and contractors to execute such projects. They work independent of the law or any existing protocol for the provision of groundwater supply to their intended targets. Ghana, therefore, does not benefit from the use of qualified hydrogeologists to provide good quality data and geological logs to help update the country’s geological maps and hydrogeological data required by LI 1827. The District Assemblies are therefore not discharging their roles in implementing water programmes to the benefit of the communities. The chain, from the development of policy by the Ministry responsible for water through co-ordination, facilitation and technical oversight by CWSA and the delivery at the community level by the Assemblies, is very weak and is as strong as the weakest link and the weak links are many. There is, therefore, the need for strong monitoring of the District Assemblies to revamp the collapsed structures established for the implementation of efficient rural water system in Ghana. It is recommended that the Water Resources Commission and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency should strengthen their monitoring and evaluation departments in order to assess the full situation of the rural water sector to ensure compliance of laws governing rural water delivery. The Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation should strengthen its oversight role to ensure the bidding/tendering process is fully complied with in accordance to the law; WRC should ensure that all contractors meet the criteria for qualification and comply with the conditions for the grant of the licence. Breaches must not be tolerated and enforcement regimes put in place to stop good money going into the wrong pockets while the work is poorly done. Similarly, the CWSA must tighten and strengthen fiduciary responsibilities and liaise with the respective District Assemblies and if necessary, the Regional Co-ordinating Councils, to bring discipline to the procurement processes at those levels. The respective committees such as District Water and Sanitation Teams (DWSTs), which are to ensure co-ordinated community participation in the management of rural water at the community levels be up and doing and the District Chief Executives must be made to understand that they have direct oversight responsibility over the DWSTs in their districts and as such they will be held responsible for any failures. The structures of the WATSAN Committees should be reactivated and strengthened. Training programmes have to be reinstituted and original concepts of Village Level Operation and Maintenance (VLOM) of the facilities redesigned for efficiency and sustainability. Ghana has adequate groundwater resources which should also be harnessed for conjunctive uses such as agriculture and livestock rearing. Planting for food and Jobs programme of Government will achieve its full objectives, especially in the northern sector and dry parts of the country, if more boreholes are drilled for food and horticultural cropping and animal rearing to provide the necessary jobs, move the youth away from illegal mining and sustain the rural economy. Environmental stewardship and the need to map out and protect the aquifers systems is necessary for sustainable management of our groundwater resources. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher University of Ghana en_US
dc.subject Groundwater Resources Development en_US
dc.subject Past en_US
dc.subject Present en_US
dc.subject Future en_US
dc.subject Ghana en_US
dc.title Groundwater Resources Development in Ghana: Past, Present and Future en_US

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