Friday, December 23, 2011

Climate Change And A Thirsty World

Floods came in abandon three months ago and destroyed properties including lives in parts of northern Ghana. Now flooded areas are dry up leaving the people on the breadline for clean drinking water as the flood waters dripped underground and percentage ran into polluted lakes, rivers and salted sea.
Studies on water situation in northern Ghana indicated the region is endowed with surface water and much less of groundwater resources. The area is relatively dry, with a single rainy season that begins June or July and ends October. Available surface water is about 1, 737 billion gallons per annum which is about 19% of the total annual national figure of 40 billion m3.
However, this amount is not available all year round as most of the rivers draining the region dwindle to hardly any or no flow in the dry season with only pockets of stagnant water remaining because of the high seasonal rainfall variation.
The region underlain by mainly the voltaian sedimentary geological formation which is generally perceived as not a good source of groundwater with low borehole success rate of about 53% according to the Ghana Hydrological Service Department.
Northern region has an estimated population rate of 2.8% according to the 2000 population and housing census. The implication is that population is steadily increasing but the water resources are not available throughout the year. This resulted in water rationing, created conflict for water among residents.
This also implies that there is growing demand for clean drinking water which is exacerbating the degradation of land and water resources as well as increasing conflict in water use.
Now with the advent of climate change the area is faced with severe water crisis. The rainfall patterns had changed and the people would not have privilege to meet their Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on water. Here comes a new way of conserving water-rainwater harvesting tank technology. The technology which is said to be unaffordable considering per capita income of the people is just one way of climate change mitigation or adaptation on water.
According to the 2000 population census, northern region had 1,820,806 people and the daily water available at the time was 2083 gallons per person.
The estimated 2010 census is 2,259800 and the daily water available is now reduced to 1,659 gallons per person, a reduction of 20% within ten years according to the authorities of Ghana Water Company.
The seriousness of this is that Ghana Water Company could not expand to cover almost every rural community. The bulk of the water managed is concentrated within urban cities leaving our rural folk grappling for clean drinking water.
 As result the region is grappling with guinea worm disease, a debilitating diseases that though could be eradicated but continue to stay despite actions by Ghana Health Service (GHS) and government of Ghana and Carter center.
The under ground waters are also said to be full of alkaline, fluoride, high chlorine content that makes its usage or consumption impossible. Most communities whose are forced to drink from these water sources and now suffering tooth decay and gum disease. Climate change had worsened the plight of these people leaving in breadline for clean drinking water.     
 In Some communities women and children have to trek for distance in search for cleaner water for house chores. they apparently have to compete with animals for the scare resource to make a living.

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