RESIDENTS OF Mepe-Fakpoe, a farming community in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region, for the past five years, have been drinking from contaminated dams due to lack of potable water in the area.
The acute-water shortage, according to sources, is draining their pocket and exposing them to potential water-borne diseases.
Though the Volta Region is known for its abandance of water, particularly during the rainy season, the water crisis at Mepe-Fakpoe has become severe.
The struggle for the scarce resource robs residents of productive man hours as they sometimes spend most part of the day in search of water for domestic use.
According to sources, the two dams, located at Domekope and Atigahkope, which are the only sources of water for a population of about 17,000 people dried up in the dry season, compelling residents to walk about three kilometres to Nyimor and Aklakpa rivers to access potable water.
In a recent visit to the area, the news team met Mawusi Aziatrogah at the Aklakpa river, who came with a tricycle she rented to draw water.
In an interview, she stated they rented the tricycle, popularly called Motor King, at the cost of GH¢ 20.00 for every trip.
“We went to Dadome, a neighboring community, to rent the Motor King. We don’t have one in our village. We pay GH¢ 20.00 for every trip we go.
“We carry two drums and fourteen gallons and if you use more than the fourteen gallons you have to pay for the extra gallons. We rent the tricycle twice a week so every week we spend more money to get water for our households, “she explained.
Other women in the community spend same amount or more and those who cannot afford the cost of renting the Motor King trek on foot to and from the dam.
Another woman lamented over the health implications of sharing the water with animals.
“The animals urinate and defaecate in the dam but what can we do? We wish a separate source of water could be created for the animals because this is not healthy for us,” she said.
According to her, they have no means of treating the water before drinking or using it for other domestic purposes.
“They gave us nets to filter the water before use, but we don’t have them any more so when we fetch it home we drink it like (sic) that. Only God will protect us against any sickness,” she prayed.
Apart from the health implications of the water crisis, the economic burden it comes with leaves the women penniless even before the arrival of the next rains when water will be in abundance.
“It’s a big challenge to us because we sell our farm produce and spend everything on getting water for the family. When we run out of money we carry the water on our heads. We usually go two times in the morning and once in the evening.
“The dams are very far and anyone who is not used to doing it cannot access water on foot. Our husbands don’t care. Some of them don’t even know how we get money [to pay for the tricycle] to fetch the water,” she lamented
In an interview with Today via telephone yesterday, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Okudzato Ablakwa, described the situation as “worrying.”
He noted that he initiated a short-term intervention to reduce half of the burden by way of renting the van of the Ghana National Fire Service to supply pipe-borne to the people of Mepe-Mepe and other six communities during times of dry season.
Even though this short-term measures could not solve the problem of the water crisis in the area,Ablakwa assured the people that he was working closely with the government to give them a huge relief.
He said Parliament had approved additional funding for construction of the five community water project which, he expressed the hope, would solve the problem of water situation in the area.
The Headman of Mepe-Fakpoe, Mr Mawuli Gbeve, said the intervention of the MP gave them a huge relief, but they were not out of the woods yet.
He therefore appealed to the government and District Chief Executive of the North Tongu District Assembly, Mr Richard Collins Arku, to come to their aid by providing them with a pipe-borne water facility.
Mr Gbeve said efforts in the past to provide the people with a reliable source of water have not yielded positive results.