The lives of over 12,000 inhabitants at Pishegu in the Karaga District of the Northern Region are in extreme danger, due to a serious water crisis that has hit the area.
Residents of Pishegu, a farming community in the Karaga District of Northern Region, have expressed great fear of possible outbreak of water-borne disease in the community and its environs due to the protracted water crises in the area.
With the total population of 12000 people, the community and its satellite hamlets depend on two functional boreholes. Though one of the functional boreholes is mechanized, both sources are not high yielding to commensurate the water needs of the rapid growing population of the community and its surrounding hamlets.
The residents are thus compelled to compete with their livestock for the unwholesome brownish water from an almost dried up dam. Sources within the community revealed the dam was a self-initiative project constructed by the people of Pishegu and their neighboring hamlets about 25 years ago but has since seen no proper maintenance.
At a community forum aimed at finding a lasting solution to the crisis, the residents resolved to commit to ending the aged-long water crisis at all cost. As a first step, the community members have agreed to make individual contributions to dredge the dam and have subsequently set up a committee to facilitate the process of salvaging their plight.
The forum was organised by community journalists and listener club members under the Youth Speak Up project being implemented by Youth Empowerment for Life, Rural Media Network (RUMNET) and HOPin Academy with funding support from Danish Ingathering through Ghana Friendship group in Denmark. The listen club members in the district mobilised the community members to listen to a podcast of the water issue discussed earlier on a radio programme by the community journalists trained under the project.
Lamenting on the effects of the water crisis, Madam Fuseina Majeed, indicated that the water crisis had not only taken a heavier toll on their economic activities as a result of spending productive hours looking for water but also breaking homes.
“We leave our husbands at night and go in search of water under the mercy of reptiles”, she said, adding, “we fear the situation will worsen if the rains do not set in soonest”. According to her, she and most of her colleagues had to stop shea butter processing for some time now due to the water issue, causing loss of income to supplement the family budget.
She was worried that many school children no longer go to school on time while others had to forgo school to search for water. “I am particularly worried because of our school children who have to leave school and join us to get water. I believe education will provide a better future for my children but now even when they go to school, they are tired and sleep in class”, Fuseina lamented.
Anonymous source in the community to this reporter revealed some women in other communities in recent times refuse to marry men in the Pishegu community to in order to avoid conjugal complications mostly fueled by the water crisis which in most cases lead to divorce.
The poor farmers who largely depend on crops and livestock are losing both crop yields and their animals to the situation. Women and children who usually assist in gathering and charting the produce to the storage coops are often engaged in the water search since water remains an indispensable commodity for each household.
Assembly member for the Pishegu Electoral Area, Alhassan Yakubu, appealed to central government and non-governmental organizations to help the community find a permanent solution to the water crisis. According to him, several appeals have been made to the Karaga District Assembly but the community was yet to receive a response from the Assembly. To him, the water crisis was assuming an overwhelming proportion in the entire district such that external support would be of immense help.