The Director of Planning at the Water Resources Commission, Bob Alfa has expressed worry about the high turbidity levels of water bodies in the country.
Speaking to Vivian Kai Lokko on the Citi TV Galamsey Dialogue, Mr. Alfa said the high levels of water turbidity make the treatment of water for domestic consumption difficult and expensive.
He attributed the problem largely to the activities of illegal miners in their use of dangerous chemicals such as mercury and cyanide.
“When it comes to mining impacts on water resources, there are two elements we look at; turbidity and the chemicals used by miners that pollutes water resources.”
He lamented that “under normal circumstances, we should be having turbidity levels below 50 NTU” which he stressed that, that is not the case “because if you go to the Western part now around the Birim, Ankobra, Pra, and Bia rivers, we have turbidity levels going up as high as 1600 NTU.”
He also revealed the lengths and financial distress the Ghana Water Company Limited goes through to supply homes with portal water.
“Most of the machines that were imported into the country to treat water for domestic consumption were not designed to treat water with turbidity levels beyond 100 NTU and 200 NTU and that is why the Ghana Water Company Limited sometimes has to shut down their operations or if they continue, they will have to lose some of their machines and the maintenance cost is too much.”
He added that “the use of mercury to extract gold” according to studies conducted by the Water Commission “shows that we have a lot of mercury content in the water and the soil, and edible plants, which are beyond the World Health Organization (WHO) limits.”
He forewarned that if the prevailing illegal mining activities are not halted immediately, food security will soon become a national issue, and the Ghana Water Company risks shutting down in the next six months.