For many years, the Damongo Agriculture Dam has been the main source of drinking water for the residents of Damongo, the capital of the Savanna Region of Ghana.

But, as the region is witnessing a severe harmattan season, the main source of drinking water had dried up, leaving many women and children trekking miles and spending hours at the few available boreholes to get water for their families. Students are also sacrificing their studies to search for water.

But residents are blaming changes in climatic conditions for their woes. Some of the aggrieved residents told that, the region has for some years now witnessed uncontrolled harvesting of rosewoods which are common in the area.

“Apart from the harvesting of the rosewoods, there are other people who are also cutting down the shea butter trees for the production of charcoal and it is no surprise that, the rainfall pattern in the region has completely changed”, Fatimatu Inusah, a resident said.

Another aggrieved resident by name Yahaya noted that, the innocent and the weak are now bearing the brunt of the ‘lynching’ of the Savanna forest which has led to the shortage of water in the regional capital.

“We don’t need any scientist to tell us that, our current plight which is the complete drying up of the agriculture dam was caused by a climate change and which was self-inflicted though. Our rainfall pattern has changed so the dam will also dry up”, he added.

The agriculture dam before the dry season
The woes continue

The only surviving dam in the region now is located at a place called Canteen and the Chiefs and Elders of the area, including the Assembly member and his Unit Committee have issued notice to ban fetching of water, especially for commercial purpose.

Part of the notice reads “The directive has become necessary as a result of the critically low level and gradual drying of the century long water source of the area.

The general public is accordingly advised to abide by the directive in their own interest as failure may attract huge sanctions, including fines”.

They warned further “Owing to the urgency of the matter and the need to protect the only big water source in the community and the marine animals therein, we would not hesitate to go whatever length to unleash punitive measures on potential flouters of this directive”.

People queuing for water at Damongo
The USD 49 million Water Project

In June 2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod for work to begin on the construction of the Damongo Water Supply Project. The USD 49 million Water Supply Project, being financed by the UK Export Finance and Bank is aimed at supplying portable water to the people of Damongo township and its surrounding communities.

The project is estimated to supply water to 68,000 people with an average demand of Eight Thousand, Eight Hundred (8,800) cubic metres of water daily.

The Member of Parliament for the Damongo Constituency, Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor last week assured the people of Damongo Constituency that, portable drinking would soon reach them, adding that, it would be his biggest achievement as the MP for the area.

He disclosed that feasibility studies, mapping etc for the water project had been completed and pipe laying by the contractor would commence in March this year.

The perennial water shortage in Damongo, the Savannah Regional capital gives me sleepless nights and I am working around the clock to make sure it becomes a thing of the past”, he assured.

By Zion Abdul-Rauf