Wa: Research shows faecal pollution of well water and bacterial contamination of borehole water

Pro Vice Chancellor of the SDD-UBIDS Professor Derbile (right) with the Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz bin Salih (left).

Residents in the Wa Municipality are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases as most of the water sources for drinking and other daily activities are contaminated with feacal matter.

While water sourced directly from the Ghana Water Company Limited GWCL is considered mostly safe for drinking, the water has serious quality problems.

These findings were contained in a policy brief titled “Decentralized urban water supply services and access to water under urbanization in West Africa” under the LIRA Project.

Speaking at the launch of the Policy Document at Wa, the Acting Pro Vice Chancellor of the Simon Diedong Dombo University for Business and Integrated Development Studies (SDD-UBIDS), Professor Emmanuel Derbile said there is a need for concerted efforts to address the water quality problems in the Wa Municipality.

The LIRA Project is a two-year trans-disciplinary research initiative implemented from 2019 to 2021 in two West African Cities, Wa in Ghana and Niamey in Niger. The goal of the project is to explore how a multi-stakeholder management approach could improve the knowledge, awareness, attitudes and capacity for improving urban water supply and achieving inclusive water access for urban population.

In the Wa Municipality, the research was carried out under the auspices of the West African Centre for Sustainable Rural Transformation (WAC-SRT) at the SDD-UBIDS with support from the Wa Municipal Assembly, the Ghana Water Company Limited, CSOs and NGOs, the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUPSA) amongst others.

Professor Derbile spoke about some of the findings of the research saying “one of the key findings of this research. The study revealed a water quality problem and a huge risk to human safety. The results from water quality tests revealed faecal pollution of water from wells and bacterial contamination of water from boreholes. A few standpipes from the Ghana Water Company also present some water quality problems, but this may be due to leakage in the network”.

“For the city of Wa, the results show a low pH of water from all sources and this implies that it is aggressive water with high risk of corrosion. All together, the different water sources in Wa (except most of the water from GWCL) are contaminated by faecal release and thus, of poor water quality”.

The Acting Pro Vice Chancellor of the SDD-UBIDS, Professor Derbile said the findings should be a source of worry for all stakeholders thus the need for more collaborative efforts to address these challenges.

“These findings should be a source of concern to all stakeholders and. we are here in this hall. It indeed requires urgent action. Drawing on the evidence from the TD research process, this policy brief presents policy propositions for improving governance and management of urban water supply services for promoting inclusive access to safe,” he said.

In Niamey, Niger, the study found that only water produced by the Niger Company of Water Exploitation (SEEN) had potable water in consonance with standards of the World Health Organization. The research in Niamey was conducted by the WAC-SRT centre in Niger headed by the University of Abdou Moumouni.

“In Niamey, only the water produced by SEEN complies with the potable standards defined by the WHO. However, there is an alteration in the quality of this water in certain neighborhoods most of the time due to some leakages in the pipes. Water from wells and boreholes are polluted at about 25% and contain a high level of germs.

In addition, physicochemical quality problems were highlighted during this study. According to WHO standards, water from boreholes has high nitrite contents, hence a source of pollution which makes the water not drinkable. For the pH, water from the different sources is characterized by acidity to slightly basic pH in the wells, and acidity to neutral in the boreholes,” he disclosed.

Story filed by Mark Smith.

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