File picture[/caption] The Ghana Water Company is considering a shutdown of its operations at the Barekese and Owabi dams in the Ashanti region if pollution of the water bodies serving the plants is not halted. Managers say the cost of water treatment has become expensive as land reserves around the dams have been encroached on by sand winners, farmers and estate developers. The Barekese and Owabi Dams have the capacity to supply 60 million gallons of water a day to Kumasi and other parts of the Ashanti Region. But the two dams current produce about 40 million gallons of water a day. Stakeholders, including the Minister of Science, Environment, Technology and Innovation, have acknowledged a looming crisis and the need for a swift response to salvage the situation. The latest to visit the area is the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, who led the Regional Security Council to assess the level of destruction. He dreaded of the consequences should production falls at the Owabi and Barekese dams. “It’s clear that we have a crisis before us, a creeping crisis that if not properly managed may develop into a national security issue,” he said. The Minister noted government’s heavy investments in water infrastructure could be eroded, but could not lay blame on any group for the looming crisis. But the Chief of Anyinasi, Nana Yaw Tuffour, has accused staff of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission for selling land around the catchment area. He said a case is currently in court to prevent the sale of lands in the area. The delayed action to halt activities that threaten the existence of the dams is a worry to the Ghana Water Company. Water treatment has turned a herculean task as the cost of production shoots up. Ashanti Regional Communication Manager the company, Sampson Ampah, says the plants may be shut down if the pollution continues. “To enhance the supply of quality water to residents in Kumasi and other parts of the region, the company was forced to increase the chemicals used in treating the polluted water at a cost, but if this continues in future, we would be forced to stop operations”.