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Opinions of Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Columnist: Archibold Ebo Arkhurst

Many Ghanaians resort to borehole water

Necessity they say, is the mother of invention, and many Ghanaians nowadays have come to the full comprehension of this idiomatic expression like never before so far as our ‘nationwide’ water scarcity bane remains unresolved; hence their demand for borehole water drilling services.

I had hope in some twenty years back that things were going to change for good; nonetheless governments after governments have done less or nothing to save the situation; and it’s a great cause for concern. I vividly remember growing up at Effia-Nkwanta Nurses quarters in the Western region and my having to trek almost a mile from ‘Block D’ to ‘Blue House’ or ‘Broadcasting’ in search of water to bath before going to school as our tap weren’t flowing almost every day. But that was yester years. Days have rolled into weeks, weeks into months, months into years and here we are, unable to end this perpetual national problem two decades on. Who are we to hold responsible in this matter? (I know you would say Ma****)

Past and present governments have done little with the more they have been given or received and this has compelled the people to convert their despondence into self dependence, making water flow where it isn’t. Many Ghanaians are now taking water to where they live at all cost regarding it worth whiles disregarding the unreliability of GWCL. The thing is, one must not wait for Christmas before he eats chicken if he can afford it now; and water is better than chicken that’s why many now are buying into the idea of personal mechanised borehole water system.

Actually, as it stands now, it’s very safe, reliable and profitable to have a private water supply system as underground water has been found to always come in it pure form; a sharp contrast to surface water which many a time is impure. The situation is becoming increasingly worse as exemplified in the presence of cancer-causing chemicals in one of our important river bodies (River Pra). But that would be a subject matter for discussion later on ...

However, I don’t think I am the only one who has desisted from the intake of tap water as it has a certain ‘metallic’ taste which may be unhealthy for the body system. I have had people complain to me sometimes how they itch on their body after taking their shower. Let’s no one see it as an attempt to rubbish tap water. Yes I know; there is nothing perfect under the sun. But trust me; it’s better to live on underground water than surface water.

Apart from its self-sustainability, reliability and profitability, many a Ghanaians now are using borehole to maximise the life span of their property through the principle of capillary attraction. The truth is, almost the whole of Accra sits on water. And many after buying the land at exorbitant price still have to spend money trying to ‘fill’ their water-logged lands before they starts building; which is good. But to what extent does the filling helps? I have literally seen water defiantly ‘climbing’ buildings whiles property owners’ looks on clueless and helpless.

The thing is, before man, there was water. And in order for one to prevent water from creeping and destroying your property with time, you can drill a borehole which would serve as an underground vertical receptacle into which water within and around where your property is sited would be pulled by molecular attraction and gravity. Water always finds its level. With time, all the water would travel beneath by interfacial forces into the hole which in turn can be drawn for several domestic purposes whiles it finds a new destination instead of creeping and destroying your property. Ghanaians are deemed to be sophisticated and smart all over Africa so it’s not surprising to me now as I was initially how someone would use a borehole to meet other important need apart from the regular ones we all know.

Underground water has tremendous potential which when exploited can go a long way to be a blessing to the nations’ virtual curse of water scarcity. There is much more fresh water in the earth than on its surface to meet our needs as a people. Borehole water, when treated, is a better alternative to our traditional water supply system by far and its high time our honourable people at the helm of affairs pay critical attention to it.

In conclusion, our authorities must appreciate the fact that Ghana and more specifically, Greater Accra region has greatly increased in population and hence the need to put measures in place to expand and extend it national piping networks to places where there is no water. Government obviously is doing something but must do a lot more to end this water scarcity problem as soon as possible.


Underground/Borehole Water Expert.