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Regional News of Thursday, 26 February 2015

Source: GNA

Ghana yet to realize full potential of its groundwater

Enoch Asare, Head of Ground Water Resources at the Water Resources Commission (WRC) said Ghana is yet to realize the full potential of its groundwater resources as a water supply option in our socio-economic development.

He said the potential groundwater uses in Ghana are domestic, industrial/commercial and agricultural, adding that an overwhelming majority of the world’s cities and towns depend on groundwater for municipal supplies.

Mr Asare said this at a workshop on Training of Water Well Drillers organized by the WRC in Accra on Tuesday.

The training was to educate Drilling Companies on the Drilling License and Groundwater Development Regulations 2006 and the WRC Act 1996 and also create the awareness of the citizenry on the dangers of the water wells.

He said in most populous and poverty-stricken regions such as ‘South Asia’ groundwater is at the center-stage of food-agricultural economy and that 60 per cent of India’s irrigated food grain production depended on groundwater.

Mr Asare said groundwater flow and yield is mainly controlled by fractures, but it storage depends on the characteristics of overlying weathered layer and that one of the goals of the WRC is to protect groundwater and ensure that it is used in a sustainable manner.

Mrs Adwoa Dako, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the WRC said the powers conferred on the WRC in Section 35 of the Water Resources Commission Act (Act 522 of 1996) sponsored the Drilling Licence and Groundwater Development Regulation, 2006 Legislative Instrument (LI) 1827 which was passed by Ghana’s Parliament and implementation on January 1st, 2008.

She said the purpose of the LI 1827 was to provide licences to companies that prospect for and drill water wells, regulate in an environmentally sustainable manner the development of Ghana’s groundwater resources; and gather information on groundwater resources availability in Ghana and its exploitation for effective planning and management of groundwater development activities.

Mrs Dako said the general component of the LI is made up of 24 regulations that regulate the administrative processes for applying for and renewing a licence, notification of any well drilling activity to WRC, procedures to be followed by licence holders and water well drillers to develop wells in an environmentally friendly manner, abandon wells properly and rehabilitate defective ones.

She said details of the Drilling Licence and Groundwater Development Regulations, 2006 LI 1827 in relation to the specific regulations provides that “No person or contractor shall construct or begin to construct a well for abstraction of groundwater without a Water Drilling Licence” and that all licences issued are valid for a period of three years - renewable upon application.

The PRO said the WRC requires all persons to have a drilling licence before they can prospect and drill for water.

Dr Anthony A. Duah, a Geologist at the Water Research Institute of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research in Accra said the importance of groundwater forms about 97% of available freshwater extensively used for low cost rural water supply and supplies at least 1,500 million urban dwellers with water worldwide.