Activities of illegal miners have forced management of the Ghana Water Company to halt the activation of a 58-million dollar Konongo water treatment plant that is intended to solve the perennial water shortage in the area.
Although work on the 3.6 million-gallon daily water supply is completed, authorities are yet to begin pumping water from the plant to the four major towns in the Asante Akyem Central Municipality which are the beneficiaries.
The galamsey operators have damaged the water pumps at the dam and blocked the flow of water upstream for treatment, thus making it difficult for operators to test the water at the plant.
The project forms part of a 236-million-dollar loan facility acquired by the government to construct three major water projects in the Ashanti region.
The project dubbed 3K, involves Konongo, Kumawu and Kwahu Ridge communities and expected to produce a total of 10.6 million gallons of water daily when completed.
The Kumawu and Kwahu Ridge projects have been completed and in use but commissioning of the Konongo water project has delayed because of the threat posed by the activities of illegal miners.
Minister of water resources, works and housing, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah led members of the Ashanti regional Security Council to one of the galamsey sites, where heaps of sand had been left uncollected at the bank of the Atunsu stream.
Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah expressed worry about the situation , noting that the protection of the Konongo water treatment plant is not the responsibility of the Ghana Water Company Limited and his ministry alone but the responsibility of all.
Activities of the illegal miners are threatening the river supplying raw water to the plant
“It is the aim of the government that by 2025, every Ghanaian has access to good drinking water because water is life. That is why the government is investing millions of dollars to provide safe drinking water to Ghanaians. For this reason, we cannot and must not allow a few individuals in their attempt to earn a living prevent the larger majority in getting access to good drinking water,” he said.
He appealed to the chiefs and elders in the various communities to fight against galamsey activity.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, John Alexander Ackon says the huge investment made into the project to provide water to the people of Konongo and environs cannot be left to go waste.
The delegation has therefore met with the chiefs and opinion leaders of the communities to find a lasting solution to the galamsey menace in the area.
“REGSEC has put up a monitoring team in collaboration with the Asante Akyem central municipal Security Council and the chiefs in the area to ensure that, the galamsey operators are clampdown,” he said.
Managing Director of Ghana Water Company Limited, Fred Lokko complained about the effects of the illegal miners on the company’s operations.
“We have constructed a one million cubic metre reservoir to store water for a period of six months but because of the illegal mining activities that is going on, it is not possible to fill the reservoir, and as we speak the plant can’t even open”.
He said it is a shame for the government to spend 58 million dollars on the Konongo water treatment plant project and for there to be no water for the people of Konongo.
The water treatment plant is expected to solve the perennial water shortage in Konongo, Hwidiem, Agogo and Domeabra among other communities.
Story By : Ibrahim Abubakar