Residents of Akatawiah in the Eastern Region, have appealed to the Upper Manya Krobo District Assembly and benevolent organisations to develop their preferred source of water in the community.
The residents had to stop and think about the last time they drank water that was really clean.
Though the community has three boreholes serving about 5000 residents, they still prefer to rely on water from an age-old pond that lies by the main highway leading to Asesewa, arguing that water content from the boreholes was not “good enough.”
Though the water is free and accessible, it is also dirty and dangerous.
The residents say the water body also serves as a source of drinking water for thirsty animals as this correspondent witnessed a dog drinking from it.
When members of the community turn up to fetch, they may get a sickening mixture of water, leaves, broken sticks, insects and dirt. Groundwater and drinkable water are synonymous here.
Though the water appears clean most times, it gets dirty and milky whenever it rains as it is contaminated with running ground water.
But this doesn’t stop the residents who out of choice or constraints still depend on their only preferred water for all domestic chores including drinking, washing, bathing, cooking, etc.
GhanaWeb’s Eastern regional correspondent had a hectic time convincing the residents to agree to conduct this interview saying that several interviews they had granted to media houses on the situation did not yield any results.
When they finally agreed, 55-year-old Maku Agnes disclosed that she has lived all her life in this community.
She told GhanaWeb that the water is not conducive for use as it exposes them to all manner of diseases and appealed for the water body to be upgraded to prevent its infiltration by dirty groundwater and other impurities.
“The water we use here is very bad, whenever it rains, tiny animals are washed into it and all the animals drink from here before we come fetch for drinking. We are exposed to diseases,” the bitter woman complained.
She said all complaints to the past and present Assembly Men and District Chief Executives for the area have fallen on deaf ears, adding that the only way out to demonstrate their frustration is by refusing to vote in future elections.
“We have decided that if they refuse to come provide us with another source of drinking water, if we complain to the Assembly Man and DCE, they fail to act, they don’t care about our welfare. Whenever it rains, the water is contaminated and we still fetch to drink and this exposes us to a lot of sicknesses. We are dying so we are telling them that if they refuse to come attend to our problem, we will not vote again.”
Wayo Rebecca, 49 also shared similar sentiments.
She has also lived all her life in the Akatawiah community. According to her, though the water body has always served the community, it gets contaminated with the rains.
“This is our old source of water but now when it rains, the ground water is washed into it, used pampers are also washed into it and we are falling sick. Animals including pigs also drink from it,” said Auntie Wayo, reiterating earlier grievances that all complaints have fallen on death years.
38-year-old Doris Agmortey who just like the others has lived all her life in this community also told GhanaWeb that they had no choice but to rely on the water with its attendant problems.
She said “we use this for cooking, bathing, washing drinking and everything. It brings us a lot of problems and the children risk falling into it.”
Akoto Richard Odame Assembly Man for Akatawia Electoral Area appealed to the concerned stakeholders to hear the cry of the residents and come to their aid.
“The borehole which the government did for them is not enough in the community so they love to fetch this nearby road water in the stream…so I’m pleading so that they can come and do this particular water for us,” he said.
The first term Assembly Man was worried that despite assurances from past and present DCEs and Assembly Men to come to develop the water source into a modern facility, nothing has been done.
He appealed to the government and other benevolent organisations to come and heed the cry of the community.
DCE for Upper Manya Krobo, Felix Nartey Odjao when contacted wondered why the community was still insistent on patronising that particular water when the community has three boreholes to depend on.
“That terrain over there, we have given them two boreholes. We have given them a mechanized borehole in the community, there is also a hand pump in addition to the one in the school so why are they insisting that the pond be also developed?” he quizzed rhetorically.
“If they say the boreholes are broken down, then that is another matter but why are they insisting that something be done about the pond also?”