General News of Thursday, 24 July 2003

Source: GNA

Water is no longer free - Maison

Asuofua (Ash), July 24, GNA - Mr Kenneth Baffoe Maison, Ashanti Regional Chief Manager of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), has stated that water is no longer free. He explained that it is a finite resource with supply constraints with a scarcity value and cost to using it. Mr Maison stated this at the Ashanti Regional launching of the World Environment Day celebration at Asuofua, in the Atwima District on Wednesday. The theme for the day was, "Water - A Vital Resource for Development".

He noted that a major factor impeding sustainable water resource management and stakeholders' participation was the lack of awareness of the state of water resources in terms of availability and demand as well as the economic, social, environmental and management aspects to its uses and protection. Mr Maison called for a rain harvesting culture to be inculcated in the minds of people, especially students so as to preserve potable water for washing utensils and other activities. "National politics need to focus on integrated approach to water management and a new water culture needs to be promoted that emphasises conservation practices and other stewardship of this precious resource", he added.

Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), called for the protection of water bodies and asked people to use water wisely and to do all that was necessary for the sustainability of water for future generation. He emphasised that the protection of the ecosystem was very vital and asked communities to guard against the sale of all lands for the construction of houses. The Vice Chancellor called for proper land management, saying, "Building of storey building must be encouraged to save space for future physical and structural development".

Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, said the government was concerned with the provision of potable water for communities indicating that the high cost involved in the provision of water and sanitation required that communities take good care of facilities provided. He reiterated the call for all district assemblies in the region to adopt a buffer zone by-law prohibiting farming, construction and other human activities on the banks of streams and rivers and to monitor activities in and around other bodies. "By protecting our water resources, we will be guaranteed a healthy future for humanity and the planet", he said.

Mrs. Philomena Boakye Appiah, Ashanti Regional Programmes Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said many people around the world have now realised the myth concerning water that "water is free and plentiful". She said there was no time to waste with regards to environmental protection and urged the people to be worthy stewards of the environment.

Mr Charles Yeboah, Atwima District Chief Executive, called on the chiefs and the people to check land degradation and environmental pollution. He assured the people that the Barekese road was going to be rehabilitated and that efforts were also being made to improve education, health and sanitation.