Barekese Dam is under serious threat from the activities of encroachers, particularly crop farmers.
The Barekese Reservoir is the main source of potable drinking water for the residents of Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana with a population estimated at about two million.
The reservoir provides 80 per cent of the total pipe borne water to the Kumasi metropolis. But over the past two decades the reservoir has been degraded through human activities along its catchment area contributing to deteriorating water quality.
The water level has been gradually reducing giving an indication that there could be a looming water crisis in Kumasi in the coming years.
The degradation of the reservoir is attributed to clearing of land for farming and illegal milling of lumber from the forest reserve that is responsible for protecting the catchments of the Offin River.
A visit to the site revealed that crop farmers are enjoying the benefits of farming near the reservoir. It could not be established though, who authorised them to farm in the dam’s buffer zone.
One of the farmers, who claimed to be a resident of Maaban, one of the communities in the catchment area of the reservoir, disclosed that some of those engaging in the farming activities in the Barekese Dam’s buffer zone are staff of the Ghana Water Company (GWC). However, this could not be confirmed as the authorities could not be reached for their comments.
Apart from farming activities, the dumping of tonnes of solid waste into the surrounding areas are adding to the deterioration in the quality of the reservoir.