The International World Water Day celebration is designated by UN to be commemorated on the 22 March of every year – drawing attention to global water crisis and raising awareness on the importance of fresh water resources.
Water means different things to different people and as such, this year’s event being organized by the Water Resources Commission (WRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resource (MSWR), and the United Nations (UN) under the theme, “Valuing Water” had the following objectives:
1. To highlight the challenges in keeping our water resources safe and clean, and increasing access to potable drinking water,
2. To show the impact of government’s intervention in the water sector over the past four (4) years,
3. To call for collective efforts in finding suitable measures to the menace we are faced with.
Highlighting the challenges our water sources face, the Hon. Minister Cecilia Abena Dapaah pointed particularly to the activities of illegal mining ‘galamsey’ as the major hurdle to cleaner and safer water sources. She therefore used the opportunity to call for the placement of higher value on protecting our water sources and the environment to ensure good quality water supply – prescribing and promoting local remedial interventions to reduce the pollution not only from illegal mining, but from other contributory sources such as improper liquid and solid waste disposal.
The sector minister in her statement to the press indicated that government’s interventions, despite the challenges, have resulted in the improvement of the ambient water quality i.e., from 39% in 2016 to 56.6% at the end of 2020 and that access to improved drinking water sources increased from 78% in 2017 to 81% in 2019.
The Hon. Minister reiterated government’s commitment to making significant new investments – with the focus on bringing water to the homes of people through the Water for All Agenda.
To this end, an amount of about USD1.04 billion is being invested in about 8 urban water supply projects and 6 major rural water supply projects that are ongoing in the country and targeting about 4.87 million people to be served when completed. This, she said, will be reflected in the result of the next Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.
In concluding her speech, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah explained that World Water Day was an opportunity for everyone to get involved since water is everybody’s business.
Supported by the UNESCO representative Mr. Diallo Abdourahamane, the Hon. Minister also officially launched the UN World Water Development Report 2021 with the theme ‘Valuing Water’ which assesses the current status of and challenges to the valuation of water across differing sectors and perspectives and identifies ways in which valuation can be promoted as a tool to help achieve sustainability.