Sand miners are polluting the Dalun River in the Kumbungu district of the Northern Region, and are causing a 22% loss to water production for the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) up north.
The losses are above the normal five percent, which happens through filtration of the water for domestic supply.
Averagely, the company is expected to produce 45,000 cubic metres of treated water to supply the system daily; but it now supplies only 28,000 to 32,000 cubic metres due to sand-winning activities around the river.
The Northern Regional Chief Manager of GWCL, Steven Ndebugri, revealed this at Nawuni water supply system in the Kumbungu district during a working visit of the Deputy Sanitation and Water Resource Minister, Michael Yaw Gyato.
The visit was to assess the state of sanitation and water systems in the region, and the measures needed to address challenges.
Steven Ndebugri said pollution of the water-body made it difficult to supply the needed volumes of water to consumers.
The situation, he said, nearly led to the company shutting down the system in 2018 – which would have caused a national crisis, because the groundwater in the Tamale metropolis is not operational.
“If we in Tamale don’t help to fight against the canker, we will wake up one day and see our taps not flowing – and that would be a national disaster which we don’t want to see happen,” he stated.
He said there is need for a buffer zone about two or three kilometres away from the riverside for the sand-winners to prevent pollution of the water-body.
He stressed that the illegal sand-winning has led to a rise in the cost of production, thereby affecting the company’s revenue.
Ing Ndeburi appealed to the chief to refrain from selling lands for development within GWCL’s catchment areas.
The Deputy Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, Michael Yaw Gyato, expressed worry about the illegal sand-winning, saying: “You can build a house, but if you have no water you will run away from the house and move to where you can get water”.
According to him, efforts are being made to curb the sand-winning.