The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) may be compelled to shut down its Daboase Treatment Plant in the Western Region due to the continuous decline in the Pra River level at the intake point.
The maximum operating level at the Daboase Water Treatment Plant is 4.9metres (m) while the minimum level is 1.0m.
The current river level is at 0.8m.
At this level, the plant should have been shut down but the company says it will continue to manage the situation in order not to cause severe water crisis in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis.
Speaking to Connect FM, Western Region Communications Manager of GWCL Nana Barima Barnie said due to the alarming river level, the company is unable to draw raw water, treat and distribute to its customers.
“As I speak, the Daboase Treatment Plant is able to work for only two hours out of the normal 24-hour routine. It is not that our pumps are faulty, no. The intake point at the treatment plant has become heavily silted due to a number of reasons including activities of illegal mining. So, the pump is only able to pump for two hours. The water that comes into our system is not adequate to sustain the pressure so we are not able to push it. And this has greatly affected our ability to draw raw water from the Pra River to treat and distribute to our customers.”
The situation has compelled the company to introduce water rationing in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, a system that has been ongoing for the past three years.
It has become common to see residents in long queues at community standpipes with their ‘Kuffour gallons’, fetching water.
However, residents are getting used to the long spell of water rationing and are improvising. Currently, almost all new buildings have mechanized boreholes to supply water.
Owners of old buildings are also drilling boreholes to ensure that there will be constant supply of water and for tenants that is a more reliable option.
“I have become so used to water not running through the pipe to the extent that even when it is our turn for water to flow, I am not aware. I just don’t bother to open the tap. We were using water tanker services. So when the landlord met us on the possibility of constructing a mechanized borehole, all the tenants agreed without any hesitation. As I speak, we have the mechanized borehole working and that has been a big relief. About four houses in the area are also building same. And I will not be surprised if in the next one year, all houses in this area build mechanized boreholes,” Paulina Addison, a resident of Mount Zion at Anaji West, said.
Nana Barima Barnie stated that a sod has been cut for the construction of a new water treatment plant at Daboase.
“Very soon the work will start. The capacity of the new one will be four times more than that of the current one at Daboase. But in the short term, there is a company called Dredge Masters that dredge our intake point for us. We have started a discussion with them to come and dredge our intake point. That will also give us some respite and increase production.”
When asked whether the building of the new water treatment plant is the best solution considering the fact that the challenge is the non-availability of raw water, Nana Barnie said, “Currently there is no dam at our Daboase headworks and so what we do is, we draw the water as it passes by. But with the new treatment plant, we will build a dam. So in essence we will dam the river so that we will have water all year round.”