It constitutes approximately two –thirds of the earth surface.
It sustains various kinds of life and its importance stretches across all facets of life right from being a major constituent of the human body to major industrial uses.
According to the World water Council, while the world’s population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. Within the next fifty years, the world population will increase by another 40 to 50 %. This population growth – coupled with industrialization and urbanization – will result in an increasing demand for water and will have serious consequences on the environment.
More than one out of six people lack access to safe drinking water, whiles 3900 children die every day from water borne diseases (WHO 2004). These figures have most likely shot up, and should give an indication of the serious role water plays in the sustenance of life.
Despite these revealing statistics, Ghanaians by what has become a habit waste a lot of water.
It is not surprising to see Ghanaians sidestepping collapsed PVC pipes spewing out water without a hint of concern.
People spend a lot of clean drinkable water washing their automobiles or just watering flowers. It is not to say that washing of automobiles or watering of flowers is a bad thing but rather, that the amount of water people employ in the achievement of some of these tasks are mindboggling.
In general, a culture of disrespect for water has become a kind of norm.
Aside the regular wasting of water, calls for the protection of water bodies from government and several Non-governmental organisations have fallen on deaf ears.
People in Ghana build with impunity along water bodies and cut down trees and other forms of vegetation along our water bodies. Some people even build in water ways and hence interfering with the flow of water.
Like any other problem, it could be attributed to lack of strong institutions and a lack of political will to enforce some of the laws governing the environment.
Ghana is however a country that is still paying for not taking pragmatic steps to protect its water bodies.
Potable water is still a privilege in a lot of Ghanaian communities. Guinea worm is still a major challenge in Ghana along with typhoid and other water –borne diseases.
As part of our punitive lessons, water rationing is a term well understood by a large section of Ghanaians. Carrying buckets and gallons which have become known as “Kufour gallons” over long distances to fetch water has become a common scene.
On a typical morning people queue and struggle with each other in many parts of the country just to have access to a bucket of water.
People have to share their drinking water with domestic animals since they fetch water from the same streams the animals drink from.
There are many other examples of ways in which the ordinary Ghanaian pays for his disrespect for this all important commodity called water. Yet the fascinating thing is that, the culture of waste and wanton destruction of our water bodies continues unabated.
Focus fm, KNUST-Kumasi.