Lack of potable water in some parts of the Tamale metropolis has compelled some residents and students to compete with animals for access to untreated water for domestic use. The resort to use of unwholesome water from dugouts exposes the residents and students to risk from a number of water-borne diseases.
According to the students, due to the water crisis in their schools they have no option than to fetch water from the nearby dams. Some treat the water with alloys before drinking and bathing with it, with those who lack the means having to use the water as it is.
The situation, they said, is affecting teaching and learning in the various schools of the region, since they have to use their study hours to search for water.
The affected schools are Ghana Senior High School (Ghanasco); Business Senior High School (Bisco); Tamale Girls Senior High School (Pagnaa); Northern Business Senior High School, (Nobisco); and Vittin Senior High Technical School among others.
Some school authorities and teachers who spoke to the B&FT said, due to the number of students in the affected schools and lack of adequate reservoir facilities, the phenomenon is repeated during the dry season every year.
They disclosed that some students have to forgo taking their bath before going for classes, while others resort to water sold in plastic containers – popularly known as Kufour gallons, which are expensive for the students, costing between GH¢1 and GH¢1.50p per gallon.
Some teachers complained that the situation also compels some students to sleep during classes due to the long hours they spend getting water.
Additional information gathered indicates that some schools spend a lot of money when the taps are not running to ensure students and the kitchen are supplied with water.
Some students who spoke anonymously to the B&FT said the situation is adversely affecting their health and academic performances. “With this issue, some of us from poor families have to depend on the water to wash and bathe, which affects our health. For what we are going through, we are praying to God to touch the heart of government to attend to our needs in the schools to access good drinking water that will ensure sound and effective academic work,” they appealed.
Water shortage in Tamale is not a new phenomenon; it has become a yearly ritual! Most households and schools now depend on water from dams, where animals drink from – and human activities such as washing pollutes the water.