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03.04.2018 Feature Article

Access To Fresh Water, A Legal Entitlement But Not A Charitable Commodity

Access To Fresh Water, A Legal Entitlement But Not A Charitable Commodity
LISTEN APR 3, 2018

Water is life and water is health. Water is remains a vital element for human existence and all ecosystems on earth share this natural resource through the hydrological cycle.

It is the most precious resource on the planet.
The fulfilment of basic human needs, our environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water.

Although globally there seems to be enough quantity of water for everyone, there exists inequalities in access to this vital resource from country to country.

Ghana is endowed with abundant water resources through a complex network of rivers and other water bodies, such as the Volta River System, South-Western Rivers System and the Coastal Rivers System.

In spite of all these numerous water resources, Ghana faces the threat of acute water shortage due to uncontrolled alluvial mining (mining in water bodies and streams) and indiscriminate dumping of refuse into water bodies.

Unfortunately most of these rivers and streams are polluted due to some uncontrolled human activities and practices such as mining and farming.

So one will be compelled to ask how as a nation we are managing our waters resources and rivers bodies.

Fresh water is now a legal entitlement and not a charitable commodity.

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution of July 2010 recognizes access to water as a fundamental human right.

This is why the 2018 World Water Day celebration is very necessary and requires the participation of all actors and stakeholders in the water sector.

Every year March 22 is celebrated as the World Water day. The day is celebrated to focus on the importance of water and need to preserve it.

The United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day, and this year it's the 25th World Water Day.

It is being celebrated globally under them “Nature for Water” - exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.

As the nation joins the international community to mark the global celebration, there is the need for Ghana to identify and address policy contradictions in the water sector for good water resource management.

This is because access to potable water is a right, and therefore communities without safe water have the legal right to demand water from governments.

In fact the issue of water quality and its availability are very crucial for sustainable development and can facilitate the achievement of all the millennium development goals.

But, currently, there is gloomy picture of water resources in the country, as most of the water bodies in the dries up.

It therefore behooves on all stakeholders to devise means of protecting water bodies while an option of desalination of sea water must also be considered.

Studies indicate that as of 2008, only 59 per cent of urban residents have access to improved drinking water and this necessitates the need for sustainable measures aimed at addressing the inadequacies in the sector.

In an interview, Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), an anti-human rights and media advocacy Non-governmental Organisation said adverse global situation in urban water management must encourage decision makers address challenges in the water sector.

He observed that urban poor, mostly women and children are the worst affected by water related problems, as affordable, safe, treated water was available to only a small share of low-income urban dwellers who pay 12 times more for water than their richer neighbours.

“If water is truly essential to the existence of mankind, then there is the need for the government to initiate the process to preserve rivers bodies and streams from drying up”, Mr Ahenu stated.

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