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General News of Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

We shutdown pumps every 2-days due to galamsey – GWCL

The Ghana Water Company Limited’s (GWCL) efforts to work around the dire pollution brought on by illegal mining, is making its operations inefficient and less cost-effective.

Very few of GWCL’s 90 systems for treating water for consumption have been spared by illegal mining, also known as galamsey, as its dire consequences spread across the country and beyond its borders.

The GWCL’s Public Relations Officer, Stanley Martey, bemoaned the strain on the equipment at treatment plants which have to contend with the by-products of mining-related activities that pollute rivers serving treatment plants. He said their treatment plants spend more time offline as they have to undergo maintenance at least every 48 hours.

“Our pumps are not made to extract mud for treatment… the mud is water with sand and small stones so the moment they get into the pumps, they trigger it. It breaks the ball rates. For us to manage it very well it means we have had to service these pumps at least once every week instead of the usual once in a month or once in two months, so that we can at least manage the lifespan of these pumps.”

“We need to shut down for 24 to 48 hours to enable us service these pumps so it affects our down times and affects the volumes of water we treat in a day and in a week.”

Mr. Martey also revealed that about half of the volume water pumped for treatment is lost because it is all sand and stones.

He explained that, “because it is muddy and very turbid, we have to lose about 40 t0 50 percent of the water before we can get at least some form of good water to enable us treat the water for the consumption of the people. We extract about 100 percent volume and lose between 40 and 50 percent.”

“If you are wasting energy in extracting water and spending more energy pumping to the people, it doesn’t make it cost efficient,” he stressed further.

More money spent on chemicals

The various treatment plants also have to spend more money on chemicals to treat the water, according to Mr. Martey, and this culminates in the company losing GHc 4 for every cubic meter of water treated.

“Apart from that, we have had to use more chemicals than normally we would have used because for instance, instead of using a bag or two in a day, we have had to use about eight to ten so it means that cost of production goes very high and automatically it will affect our tariffs.”

“As I speak, the cost of production now is over GHc 8 every cubic meter of water… and the tariff is less than GHc 4 for every cubic meter of water, we lose about GHc 4 and we treat close to 200 million gallons of water on a daily basis.”

Galamsey cuts water production to only 60%

The Ghana Water Company limited (GWCL), has also lamented the effects of illegal mining activities on its production capacity, as it currently produces forty percent below its national production capacity.

According to the company, almost all of its major treatment plants across the country have been shut down.