PepsiCo Helps Tackle the Challenges of Safe Water Provision in Ghana

Dec 13, 2011 11:30 AM ET

The Challenge of Safe Water Provision in Ghana

Safe and clean water have different meanings in Ghana.   Clean water refers to water provided by the government from bore wells and piped to a water tower for distribution to central community taps or from wells accessed with hand pumps such as can still be viewed on some farms in Canada.  There it is sold to the community who typically pick it up in 20 litre jerry cans or large bowls and carry it home on their heads, sometimes many kilometers. The safety of this water can be impacted through sanitation of the jerry can or bowl or the local custom of putting branches into the water to stabilize it and minimize spills – this is risky because even if the water was safe when picked up from the water source, the leaves may have been contaminated and therefore transmit disease back into the family’s water.

We have heard numerous complaints about hard water when discussing water quality.   Hard water means salty.  It can in fact become undrinkable as a result and the community then turns to other sources.  These sources can include local creeks, fresh-water lagoons, rainwater run-off – all typically unsafe.   Alternatively, they can purchase water sachets – 500ml water in plastic cubes.  These sell for approx 10 sechwey or about 6 cents – not insignificant when the average monthly income is $60.  Unfortunately, these have been tested and can be up to 85% contaminated themselves.   Under these circumstances, getting safe water is a major challenge.  In this district, fresh water is available, safe water is hard to come by.

To continue reading about the efforts of The Safe Water Network, click here.

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