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CSIR-WRI organises workshop on groundwater as alternative water supply

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The Water Research Institute (WRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has organised a workshop to deliberate on the viability of groundwater as an alternative supply of water to curb the issue of shortages across the country.

The workshop brought together researchers, stakeholders in the water sector, public and private institutions and non-governmental organizations.

Dr Anthony A. Duah, a researcher at the WRI, said governments and non-governmental organizations are working together to find solutions to guarantee access to water and sanitation facilities that will enhance the overall improvement of the livelihood of the citizenry.

He made a presentation on the topic: “Delineating sources for sustainable groundwater supply in different geological settings in Ghana.”

Dr Duah said groundwater resources have served as sources of sustainable water supply in Ghana for a number of years.

He said this was due to several factors including pollution of surface water resources through unsafe mining activities, application of agro-chemicals, dumping of human and organic matter in surface water sources.

Another presentation jointly made b Dr Duah and Mr Williiam A Agyekum of the University of Mines and Technology conducted on “Delineating potential areas of groundwater for agriculture in Upper West Region” using geographic information system and remote sensing noted that widespread development of groundwater remains the only affordable and sustainable way of improving access to water for agriculture and other uses.

According to the two researchers, most of the rural agricultural practices rely on the rain, which has become very difficult to predict in recent times.

They explained that during the dry season transitory rivers dry up and water levels in ponds and pits often dry completely making livelihood difficult for women and children who walk miles in search of water.

The research noted that the future trends of groundwater resource, its sustainability, suitability, availability, development and utilisation, methods were based on the applications of Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing techniques where various procedures used in spatial data analysis would be followed.

The finding also revealed that a major challenge to the water sector was the identification and assessment of these resources especially during prolonged droughts.

The CSIR-WRI, the British Geological Survey and the University of Reading in the United Kingdom also conducted a similar research on “Building understanding of climate variability into planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa”.

The finding of this related research pointed to the need for water quality assessment to define the groundwater potential and its sustainability to support irrigation throughout the year in line with  national agenda.