THE Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has uncovered a deal in which farmers operating along the company’s distribution lines from the Barekese headworks had illegally connected pipelines to the main water lines supplying water to the Kumasi metropolis.
An exercise carried out by the Ashanti Regional Management of Aqua Vitens Rand Limited, acting for and on behalf of the GWCL, revealed that the farmers used the treated water purposely meant for domestic, commercial and industrial uses, for full-scale irrigation of their private farms.
The farmers have illegally connected long PVC pipes and water hoses with sprinklers to the distribution pipelines to water vegetable and citrus farms.
The Ashanti Regional Chief Manager of the GWCL, Mr Obeng Manu, said the practice was greatly affecting the company’s ability to supply potable water to the Kumasi metropolis.
He gave the names of the areas where the farmers had illegally connected to the main pipelines as Akropong, Tabre, Nketia, Fufuo, Barekuma and Adankwame, all in the Atwima Nwabiagya District in Ashanti Region.
The company has since seized a large quantity of PVC pipes from those farms but the owners are on the run.
Mr Obeng Manu said the areas mentioned were close to the headworks and were connected to the main transmission pipelines, hence water was drawn at very high pressures.
“The implications are that these illegal activities reduce the pressure of water flow in our pipelines and reduce the quantity of water reaching central Kumasi for distribution to consumers”, the Chief Manager said.
He said the habit contributed to depriving the company the needed revenue and pointed out that “we cannot allow this behaviour to go unpunished”.
Mr Manu said the company was collaborating with the police to arrest all those people and that anybody arrested would be made to pay for the cost of water used over the period plus a penalty. He said they would also forfeit the items seized.
He appealed for assistance from the communities, especially from chiefs, assembly members and unit committee members, to help track down all those who have done the illegal connections since their activities could affect water supply to the communities.
The Chief Manager said people should bear in mind that treated water was not meant for irrigation purposes and that all those engaged in such activities should stop forthwith or would be forced to stop.