Regional News Sun, 22 Apr 2007

Acute water shortage hit Tumu Township

Tumu, (UW/R), April 22, GNA - An acute water shortage has hit Tumu Township plunging the community into discomfort and putting the lives and health of the residents at risk.

The Tumu District Hospital is recording high intestinal disorders, dysentery, diarrhoea and urinal track infections among patients in recent time, a medical doctor has confirmed.

Dr Bukari Zakaria attributed the prevalence of these diseases to the drinking of polluted water and called for urgent measures to address the situation to stop the outbreak of cholera in the Township. Some of the residents said after drinking water fetched from a dam the only available source of water, they develop stomach pains and also run diarrhoea.

The about 10,000 residents have been without good drinking water for the past 16 years but the situation has worsened between January and April this year.

Women and children could be seen carrying plastic containers, basins and pots in search of water from the nearby communities day and night.

Many of the women in their desperation to get some water for their domestic use are sometimes compelled to fetch from a contaminated dam thereby disturbing the only hippopotamus that lives in the dam. "For the lack of water, chop bar operators and other cooked food sellers have abandoned their operations, while some residents are unable to prepare meals for their households," a women remarked. A drum of water now sells at 6,000 cedis and it is only those who can afford that are able to buy from owners of donkey carts and truck pushers.


Government workers leave their workplaces and look for water at the expense of working time, while farmers are unable to go to their farms to prepare the fields in readiness for the cropping season. "The situation would also have a negative impact on teaching and learning among school children and their teachers when schools reopen," a teacher pointed out.

In reaction to the unpleasant situation, a group calling itself "The Concerned Residents of Tumu" on Friday embarked on a peaceful demonstration to register their dissatisfaction with the contractor who carried out the expansion work on the Tumu Town Water Supply Project.

The protesters, mostly women carried plastic containers, pots and basins and matched through the principal streets of Tumu, the Sissala East District capital amidst brass band music.

At the District Administration, the protesters presented a petition to the District Coordinating Director, Mr Cyprian C.K. Douchebe. They carried placards some of which read: "Guinea worm is knocking at our doors", "Save our only Hippo from extinction" and "Ghana at 50, Tumu has no water".

In the petition signed by 32 sectional heads and chiefs and addressed to the President, the group accused the contractor of performing shoddy work on the project and alleged that the contract was fraught with fraud.


The petitioners said under the contract agreement, the contractor was expected to change all the old pipelines and replace them with new ones but this he did not do.

They claimed that the 100 pipelines that the contractor brought for the project were rather given to the chairman of the Tumu Water Board, who gave them out to his relatives and friends to connect water to their homes.

The petitioners called for a probe into the operations of the contractor and all those involved in the implementation of the project to bring the offenders to book to serve as a deterrent to others. They called for the immediate dissolution of the Tumu Water Board and a new one constituted to ensure the smooth implementation of the Tumu Town Water Supply Project.

The petitioners called on the government to commandeer water tankers to Tumu to supply potable water to the residents for the mean time, while efforts were being made to address the water crisis in the Township.

Mr Douchebe, who received the petition on behalf of the District Chief Executive, gave the assurance that everything possible was being done to address the water crisis in the town and urged the people to remain calm. 22 April 07

Source: GNA