22nd March, 2023 marks World Water Day celebrated around the globe. The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) and partners held a community durbar at Opah, a suburb of Ga West Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region. Opah is one of the deprived communities in the capital region of Ghana which lacks potable water.
Mr. Ahmed Abubakar, the Programme Officer for Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) mentioned that the World Water Day is an annual United Nations (UN) observance day held on 22 March since 1993 to highlight the importance of clean drinking water. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme of each year focuses on topics relevant to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), which is in line with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6.
Mr. Ahmed mentioned that as we celebrate World Water Day 2023, the target of achieving the SDG 6 which seeks to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by the year 2030 must be emphasized. He also called on the government to provide water in deprived communities as it is a right of all people to have access to safe and adequate water.
Mr. Issah Ali, the Executive Director of VALD Ghana added that Water is essential to the existence of man and all living things. Water is a cross-cutting element of the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) of the Republic of Ghana and is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. Improving water services and uses are essential for increasing hygiene and sanitation service levels that affect productive lives of people, reduce morbidity and mortality, reduce pre and post-natal risks and prevent vector and water borne diseases. Health, nutrition and food production, are dependent on the availability of water in adequate quantities and good quality.
Mr. Ali urged residents, industries, households and communities who already have access to safe and potable water to take actions by changing how they use and manage water.
Mr. John Nii Allotey who represented the Chief of Opah and Chairman of the occasion was enthused about the choice of VALD to allow Opah host the celebration of World Water Day, 2023. He lamented over the lack of potable water within the community and the stress it causes its residents. He was of the believe that, the durbar will be a turning point and authorities will pay attention to their plight.
Residents at the durbar expressed their distress as most often than not their main source of water is the rain water, or water being sold by individuals who have dug boreholes in their houses. These boreholes sometimes dry out. Many of the locations also produce salty waters which cannot be used for drinking, bathing, washing but only for cooking purposes hence the need for state authorities to come to their aid.
At the durbar, Mr. Avemegah Elorm a representative of the Municipal Chief Executive for Ga West Assembly assured residents of the concerns raised and stated that efforts would be taken to ensure that the community has access to safe and potable water while calling on Civil Society Organizations and other Non-governmental organizations to partner with the Assembly to assist in any ways possible to provide safe and potable water to the community.
Mr. Gamel Abubakar the Assembly member of the community called on civil society organizations and the Ghana Water Company to come to their aid by drilling of boreholes or laying of pipes into the various homes in the community. He also admonished residents to also be sure to manage the use of water when provided and to also be mindful of how to dispose domestic waste, and to not dispose domestic waste on the roads.
In a solidarity message, Mr. Adam Zagoon of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) applauded the efforts of Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) in their advocacy for providing the platform for residents of Opah who lack sources of potable water call on government to channel resources in attending to their plight. He also admonished residents not to turn their backs on such platforms offered to them in the future by VALD and other Civil Society Organizations.