Water Water Everywhere but not a Drop to Drink

in Water

There is an acute water shortage in Ghana. Some people get water flowing once a fortnight (if you are lucky). Wells are being dug in the houses of those who can afford to and the odd borehole in various communities, sometimes one serving a thousand people. The taps will sometimes come on at night then the whole household gets up to fill every container available. You see little children half asleep, carrying little pots and pans filled up with water. Plastic bottles and plastic paint buckets are recycled and used to store water and never thrown away. Everyone has drums, jerry cans, tanks, barrels and underground tanks at home. Most days you will see people going to work in their suits or uniforms sitting in pickups with large yellow or blue drums on the back or in the boot of their cars. Car welders are forever welding boots of cars because of the rust - good for them bad for the car owner.

The centre of town (the business centre) has water 80% most of the time, so everyday you go in to town with your containers and bring water home. This puts the value of water up. It is more expensive to have a box of 24 bottles of water than a bottle of champagne, taking into consideration the man hours, fuel and strength it takes to get the water home. One thing though, no matter the task of getting water, Ghanaians will always have their twice daily bath (not in a bath tub) but shower or bucket, so you can imagine the amount of trips taken daily, 90% of the time by women, just to make sure their families have water.

There are many queues for water all over town and you see both young men and women out early in the morning, by early I mean 4am, carrying buckets on their head containing their precious water which they have bought from those wealthy enough to have these huge plastic tanks or underground tanks. Buckets are sized and priced accordingly and the most common bucket size is called 34.

The most common scene is the farming tractor with a square tank built behind it delivering water (popularly known as "tu tu tu" )- which you have to buy of course. They all have mobile phones and deliver on demand. They are a mafia of water deliverers and can refuse to deliver if your attitude is not to their liking, but usually there is another one nearby, if you are lucky. I have driven 10 miles across town looking for them sometimes. When there is a complete shortage they are in heaven 'cos no matter what, you will pay the price they ask. I must say though, that they have an unofficial union that sets the prices they should charge and it seems to work. Its amazing that they always seem to have water when the rest of us are dry. It is been rare occasions that they are short of supplies and when they are they get salty well water which you can only use to bath and clean the house with - at the same price of course.

Where I live the pipes have not seen water flowing through them in over 8 years. I always buy water every two weeks to fill my tank which is connected to my house and drink bottled water. The water company seems to be able to sell water to the water deliverers but can't get the water through the pipes - with the excuse that the towns are expanding, and the pipes not enough to let the water flow everywhere, and the power cuts not enabling them to pump the water from the water works.

I read somewhere that one day wars would be fought, not over oil, but over water and looking at the situation in Ghana alone, I can believe that. My advice to those in countries where water is always flowing and to those who complain when it goes off for 30 minutes, or those who face the hosepipe ban, be thankful for what you've got, think of how you can conserve water and maybe how to purify and desalt seawater and believe the hype - water will disappear one day. Then it will be "Water, Water everywhere but not a drop to drink", especially for those surrounded by the sea - Even with all this Wahala" (problem) I still love GHANA.

Author Box
Mariska Taylor has 1 articles online

I started writing when I was young but it was not until 2002 after my husband's death that I seriously started poetry articles and short stories as a serious hobby which I could develop. I have had some of my poetry and articles published in magazines. I am a motivational speaker, have attended many seminars on self empowerment and have walked on fire during the Unleash the fire within seminar held by Anthony Robbins. I have enough poems ready for publishing and I am also writing a novel and a film script. I live between Ghana and the UK and enjoy putting down my experiences as they happen. I love life and believe time is too short to do nothing and that all should try to leave a mark on this earth before we finally go.

Add New Comment

Water Water Everywhere but not a Drop to Drink

Log in or Create Account to post a comment.
Security Code: Captcha Image Change Image
This article was published on 2010/04/04