Konongo water treatment plant under threat

Activities of illegal miners have forced management of the Ghana Water Company Limited to halt the activation of the $58 million Konongo water treatment plant.

The project is to produce 3.6 million gallons of water a day to solve the perennial water shortage in four major towns in the Asante Akyem Central municipality.

But water cannot flow though the plant has been completed.

The $58 million Konongo water project forms part of the $236 million loan facility acquired by the government to construct three major water projects in the Ashanti Region.

The project dubbed ‘3K’ involves Konongo, Kumawu and Kwahu Ridge communities and expected to produce 10.6 million gallons of water a day when completed.

The Kumawu and Kwahu Ridge projects have been completed and in use but commissioning of the Konongo project has delayed because of the threat posed by the activities of illegal miners.

The galamsey operators have damaged the water pumps at the dam and blocked the flow of water upstream for treatment and testing of water at the plant.

Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah led members of the Ashanti Regional Security Council to one of the galamsey sites, where heaps of sand have been left uncollected at the bank of the Atunsu stream.

Dr Agyemang-Mensah was worried about the situation. He said protecting the Konongo Water Treatment Plant facility is not the responsibility of the Ghana Water Company Limited and the Ministry alone but that of all.

“It is the aim of the government that by 2025, every Ghanaian has access to good drinking water because water is life. That is why the government is investing millions of dollars to provide safe drinking water to Ghanaians. For this reason, we cannot and must not allow a few individuals in their attempt to earn a living prevent the larger majority in getting access to good drinking water.”

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He appealed to the chiefs and elders in the various communities to fight against galamsey activity.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, John Alexander Ackon, said the huge investment to provide water to the people of Konongo and environs cannot be left to go waste.

The delegation earlier met with the chiefs and opinion leaders of the beneficiary communities to find a lasting solution to galamsey menace in the area.

“REGSEC has put up a monitoring team in collaboration with the Asante Akyem central municipal Security Council and the chiefs in the area to ensure that, the galamsey operators are clampdown”.

The chiefs assured REGSEC of their readiness to help in the fight against galamsey activities in the area.

Managing Director of Ghana Water Company Limited Fred Lokko complained about the effects of illegal miners on the company’s operations.

“We have constructed a 1 million cubic metre reservoir to store water for a period of 6 months but because of the illegal mining activities that is going on it is not possible to fill the reservoir, and as we speak the plant can’t even open”.

He said it is a shame for the government to spend $58 million on the Konongo Water Treatment Plant project but for there to be no water for the people of Konongo.

The water treatment plant is expected to solve the perennial water shortage in Konongo, Hwidiem, Agogo and Domeabra among other communities.

By Ibrahim Abubakar|3news.com|Ghana