The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has inaugurated local water committees in the Savelugu municipality and Kumbungu and Tolon districts to protect the Nawuni sub-catchment of the White Volta Basin in the northern region.
The committee members are mandated among others: to adopt work-plans and annual budget for the conservation and protection of water resources within the competency of the Local Water Committee, initiate and implement activities connected with the development of water resources within the competency area, responsible for the resolution of water related conflicts within their jurisdiction, and advise the Basin Board on any matter likely to have an effect on the water resources within the competency area of the LWC.
The committee members at a short ceremony on October 25, 2022, at the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly took the oath of office.
The Country Representative of CRS, Mr. Daniel Mumuni, in his remarks said the inauguration of the committees is part of efforts to establish the Tamale Water Fund to facilitate Source Water Protection at the Nawuni sub-catchment and the entire White Volta Basin.
He noted the widespread human activities including river sand mining, agricultural expansion and deforestation, upstream gold mining activities, flooding and overarching of climate change is the main water security risk affecting access to safe water and adequate water in Tamale and its neighboring communities.
Mr. Mumuni therefore indicated that restoring and protecting the watersheds means improved quality and quantity of water and mitigation of the impact of natural disasters as well as creating a healthy living environment to protect and enhance biodiversity within the White Volta Basin.
It is estimated that about 785 million people worldwide still lack access to basic water services. It is predicted that half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas in 2025.
The CRS Country Representative intimated this situation could spark off conflicts and accelerated poverty across the globe.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Water Resource Commission, for his part said the gap between water demand and fresh water availability is widening at an alarming rate in Tamale and its environs in particular.
Therefore, ensuring water security for all he opined remains a significant challenge for stakeholders in the area.
“Competing demands for water resources for different uses makes integrated water resources management essential to enable the provision of secure water supply. In order to sustain economic growth amidst increasing pressures, particularly for the urban ecosystems, a holistic and integrated approach needs to be pursued” he emphasized.
The Northern Regional Minister, Shani Alhassan Shaibu, in his remarks reiterated the commitment of government to meet the universal water coverage by 2030 in line with the sustainable development goal 6.
He said the government as part of its commitment has undertaken a number investment and interventions within the urban water space with the construction and expansion of water abstraction and treatment plants in Yendi, Damongo and Yapei among other areas.
The Minister asserted such investment will improve water security challenges, enhance human dignity, reduce expenses and burden on health systems and boost productivity.