Right to safe drinking water: a challenge in rural Ghana

[pullquote]“When it rains like this, it gets into the well and then the colour changes, it’s just like mud and it’s very difficult to take your bath with muddy water.”[/pullquote]

Western Region has the lowest rural potable water coverage in the country. Just coming through rainy season, it’s a surprising fact, but a reality some know all too well.

By their best estimates, residents in North Kwesimintsim, a neighbourhood in Takoradi, say their community hasn’t had access to safe drinking water for nearly ten years.

“We use wells and sometimes it’s very dangerous because germs get into it. Using it to bath, cooking – it’s a problem,” says Nana Akua Agymang.

“When it rains like this, it gets into the well and then the colour changes, it’s just like mud and it’s very difficult to take your bath with muddy water.”

Agyemang, who has lived in North Kwesimintsim for three years, says she spends almost a third of her income on sachet water. She says she has no choice because she has contracted many infections from bathing with the dirty water.

Besides being a drain on their pockets, the roads into the community are in such disrepair, the trucks carrying the sachet water are sometimes unable to deliver it, leaving people without any clean water at all.

It’s not a unique problem to this neighbourhood alone. Impassable roads in many rural communities have been sited as a reason for low investment in water and sanitation, according to a 2010 article published online at Ghana Business News.

Although residents hope the Ghana Water Company and the government will come to their aid, no one has addressed their concerns yet.

And of course, that’s not acceptable to Agyemang, who sees it as more than a rights issue. She says, “Water is life. You need water by you all the time.”

A child stands by a borehole in the rural community of Kejebril, another community which lacks safe drinking water.

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