World water day has been celebrated in Obuasi with a call by stakeholders for an increase in public education on the importance of groundwater, which is a crucial water resource.
At a grand durbar to climax activities for the celebrations, the Senior Manager- Environment, Anglogold Ashanti, Nixon Asante, said many people are oblivious of the impact of their activities on groundwater.
This he said has compelled Anglogold Ashanti to team up with the Ghana Water Company Limited to initiate a public sensitization drive to drum home the impact of open defecation, illegal mining, spillage of oils and chemicals and indiscriminate land use patterns on groundwater.
This year’s World Water day was under the theme ‘Groundwater- making the invincible visible.’
Mr. Asante said Anglogold Ashanti appreciates the importance of groundwater as a primary source of water for most communities within Obuasi, hence it has drilled a monitoring borehole for underground water monitoring which enables the company to detect any adverse impact of mining on groundwater.
He again mentioned the programmes Anglogold Ashanti has introduced to mitigate the impact of climate change on access to water.
He said, “as a global mining business, we regard our role in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy as crucial. In 2008, AGA announced its initial emission reduction goals, which it met in 2018. Its carbon intensity has however reduced by 43% and overall emissions have almost halved.”
In an interaction with the media on the sidelines of the event, the Senior Manager, Environment, dispelled the assertion by some people that mining activities of AngloGold Ashanti destroy water bodies.
He said the company is into responsible mining, hence their activities are regulated by institutions like the Environmental Protection Agency which will not approve their licences if their operations are having a negative impact on the environment.
Adding her voice to the call for increased public sensitization on groundwater, Abena Dufie Wiredu Bremang, Principal Officer and Head of Pra Basin Water Resources Commission, said it is important to provide the needed technical knowledge to locate, treat and protect groundwater for future generations.
Laurent Piat, Managing Director of Veolia Ghana Limited, on his part pledged the company’s ongoing commitment to improve access to resources, preserve available resources, and replenish them.
Then Municipal Chief Executive for Obuasi, Elijah Adansi-Bonah, reiterated the government’s commitment to deal with illegal mining. He said chemicals used by illegal miners pollute water bodies which make it unsafe for human consumption.
“If we do not maintain and protect our water bodies, a time will come where we might import water, and not all of us will be in the position to afford “.
Nana Amoanimaa Dede II, Adansihemaa in her remarks talked about how to protect groundwater by using water wisely and learning to recycle paper, plastics cardboard glass, and other materials.
She again pledged the commitment of traditional leaders to protect and preserve groundwater.
The World Water Day celebration in Obuasi was spearheaded by Anglogold Ashanti Ghana in partnership with Water Resources Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Water Company Limited, Veolia Ghana Limited, Rural Relief Services, the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, the Obuasi East District Assembly, the Ghana Education Service Directorates in Obuasi Municipal and Obuasi East District Assembly.
It is an annual United Nations (UN) observance day held on 22nd March that highlights the importance of fresh water.
The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme of each day focuses on topics relevant to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), in line with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6.
It was first held in 1993.