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Water and its interconnectedness to vulnerable communities

Dilemmas of the water crisis facing many indigenous minority populations remain an existential threat not only to the emotions of people whose life depends on the resource but the interconnectedness of culture and social living of many vulnerable people.  

The United Nations estimates that by 2030, global demand for water will exceed supply by 40 per cent while the UN World Water Development Report estimates that between two and three billion people worldwide experience water shortages at least one month per year.  

 Many communities in the rural area have started experiencing the pinch more already, and this is further challenged by the increasing climate crisis globally. 

In Ghana, intermittent locks of pipes by the Ghana Water Company are distasteful almost all times on rising up to dusk stemming from the many daily uses of the resource.  

Above all many rural communities still cannot access water which is a basic right of everyone in the world.   


In spite of the growing population in Ghana and the increase in search and demand, many communities are bogged down with migration issues as a result of conflict that put pressure on demand for water.  

The global urban population facing water scarcity is projected to double from 930 million to 1.7 -2.4 billion people by 2050.  

Though many households cannot guarantee the wholesomeness of water tankers for the supply of water for drinking, they have resorted to patronizing services for domestic use including drinking and other uses.  

Other human activities have impacted sources of water, especially surface water which communities have relied on for many uses including bathing and other traditional or customary performances with demand on water to farm and solve sanitation and hygiene problems. 

More so, environmental challenges such as pollution caused by mining in many communities where the people who pursue immediate cash to solve problems become oblivious to the dangers of chemical pollution to water resources around them, and the practice of open defecation because of insufficient toilet facilities in communities. 


The Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDGs) seeks to promote access to clean water and sanitation by 2030 through availability and sustainable management.  

However, billions of people worldwide mostly in rural areas still lack basic services.  

One in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, and more than 673 million people still practise open defecation according to UN Reports.  

Though there are arrangements to increase water access and ensure proper hygiene and sanitation services for good productive lives and good health outcomes, Ghana since the implementation of the Ghana water policy which started in 2007, according to reports is around 35 per cent and much lower in all five regions of the north regions with each covering less than 20 per cent. 


People living in close proximity to water gave insight to a report; “Minority and Indigenous Trends 2023” with a focus on water in a Facebook live discussion of a three-chapter report and   35 case studies around the world of how indigenous people in Africa face challenges of water. 

Mr Nicholas Salazar Sutil Commissioning -Editor in the 2023 edition “Minority and Indigenous Trends 2023” focus on water which was launched recently in Nairobi, Kenya this year acknowledged water as a cycle and a planetary connection issue, water either being in the air, oceans, through surface and groundwater.  

“The only way to address water is to understand water as a hydrological cycle that connects us all and involves us all and something that matters to us all”. He acknowledged. 

“Our system of aw is not looking at water as a planetary issue which the authors of the report have come close to conveying the understanding that political systems do not look at water as a planetary connection”.   

He said there was the failure of government systems of law that operated at national and international levels which served the interest of all nations and countries and said failing to address the connection of water was a planetary issue that impact minority populations. 

“There are great, great insights that indigenous perspectives that have come together in the new volume in offering ways to understanding water as water” and he gave perspectives of the three chapters in the report which is divided into a first section on People, process and planet” that focuses on how minorities populations are impacted in term of the water crises. 

The report is subdivided into perspectives through processes and how to move towards achieving planetary change, then to a historical way water was turned into an essential commodity from the colonial history of water governance. 

Meanwhile, the third chapter is about the planetary dilemmas of landlocked countries across central Asia, and northern, and Central Africa where distance from the sea has caused exacerbated water challenges which make many people face the same dilemmas of water access and pollution of water bodies. 


In addressing the transformation to solving the water crisis, 10 recommendations have been made as most urgent in achieving justice, water for all, and in doing this, there is a need to know how to achieve human rights approach to law and water governance: fairness and equality in terms of clean and hygienic water access, Fairness in terms of sanitation, the right for people to have access to good water. 

Other recommendations made in the report are for governments, corporations and international bodies to address the global water crisis, pollution, drought and infrastructure and conflicts. 

 The Commissioning Editor said pollution was a major problem, especially regarding floods where last year deadly floods caused a threat and affected many areas in the world.  

According to him, drought was another major event in 2022, infrastructure by large-scale industrial companies used by the government to control territory has influenced conflict. 

“The so-called water solution is right before our noses”. He said and added that indigenous and minority people have knowledge in water conservation and generation systems that worked well in the storage of water and adopting some of the indigenous knowledge can help in reducing impacts created by climate change”; 

 Governments should uphold every person’s fundamental right to safe drinking water and sanitation, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, language, caste, descent, gender, age, orientation, gender identity, national, social or geographical origin, disability, birth or other status.  

This right must be respected without discrimination. 

“Ensure that necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure the fulfilment of this right for all people. This includes water points that are accessible, including for persons with disabilities, collection of wastewater and water treatment facilities, where necessary”.  

“Establish minimum adequate standards for safe drinking water and ensure secure supplies for all, without discrimination. These minimum standards should also apply to situations such as extreme weather events which affect regular water supplies”. 

There should be “adequate provision for emergency water supplies and should be made ahead of time. Minimize pollution through the adoption and strict implementation of regulations governing polluters. Victims of pollution should be able to seek redress through legal proceedings, including compensation and penalties for violations.  

Adequate, long-term investment in water infrastructure, including its maintenance, must be secured”. According to the report. 

“Take a human rights-based approach for any project involving water and sanitation and affected communities should be able to participate effectively and meaningfully in decision-making processes while any information necessary to make informed decisions should be provided in ways relevant to the affected community”.  

The report also recommends the application of effective and meaningful participation rights to all stages of any water and sanitation infrastructure project, including the design and setting up of independent complaints mechanisms, to ensure that these are transparent and accessible in ways relevant to affected communities.  

“Resulting water and sanitation projects should be accessible to all, without discrimination.  

Fully involve groups that face intersectional discrimination as members of minority and indigenous communities, including minority and indigenous women, children, elderly, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI+ persons since their access to safe drinking water and sanitation forms a key litmus test for the inclusivity of outcomes”.  

“Uphold indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, particularly their right to free, prior and informed consent, before any action is taken that affects their ancestral domains and their access to water and aquatic ecosystems. This right extends to the management of water basins and aquifers outside their territories that affect their water sources”. The report said. 

“Ensure effective participation of minorities and indigenous peoples in projects to mitigate and adapt to the adverse water-related impacts of climate change, including droughts, floods, extreme weather events, melting glaciers and rising sea levels and support minority and indigenous traditional knowledge systems, especially related to water management, by providing funding to communities for their documentation.  

Extend and enforce legally protected status to water-related cultural heritage sites. 

The Minority Rights Group International campaigns worldwide with over 150 partners to ensure that disadvantaged minorities and indigenous peoples make their voices heard. 


Water access issues are dire for every community so it is hoped that stakeholders working towards achieving water, sanitation and hygiene goals should speed up efforts to fill up the gaps to obtain maximum results to sustain livelihoods and ecosystem and improve food security.  





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