Imminent Shortage Of Water Professionals
The ongoing water shortage is the result of aging, if not obsolete machinery and lack of replacement parts. The next crisis in the sector may likely be for lack of qualified personnel to man and maintain the replaced equipment.
The imminent shortage of water professionals was made public at the First Ghana Water Treatment Conference and Exhibition in Accra last Thursday by the Deputy Director, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Phillip Gyao Boakye.
He said, among others, that the lack of adequate professionals in the water sector to replace aging personnel was “worrying”, and advised students who are “science-inclined to take an interest in the area, to replace the gap of professionals who would be leaving the sector.”
The Chronicle finds the call timely, and is happy that it has come out now, quite some time before the shortage starts to manifest. But, we consider it too pedestrian and unlikely to achieve the required effect of getting students rushing to read water-related courses.
Students, these days, read courses with an eye on the bottom line – the take home pay. With the advent of the computer, oil and gas sectors, mechanical /chemical engineering sector, the area into which water falls has lost some of its sheen. Besides, no one is interested in being dumped in one remote outpost in the hinterland, and being forgotten there.
In the face of the strong attraction of the megabucks computer and oil/gas sectors, unless we do more than mere calls for students to take an interest in the water sector, the aging water professionals would retire and go home without any one available to step into their shoes.
From The Chronicle’s reading of the situation, the CSIR would not have sounded the alarm if we were not already near panic buttons. We would, therefore, like to urge the CSIR to consider the possibility of recommending to the government the introduction of scholarships to induce students to study water-related courses, so that we can have a smooth transition of water professionals.
The Chronicle also supports the call by private partners in the water sector for government recognition and support in the “area of community water treatment and supply,” in the form of interventions to reduce their “operational costs” for affordable water to rural communities.
Given the pervasive poverty in most rural communities, the residents would shun any water they consider exorbitant, and continue using their stagnant and unhygienic pools of water, which is free.
We need not remind people that these polluted pools of water are the source of all the water-borne diseases like cholera, which has become a killer in recent times.
It is said that health is wealth. The Chronicle calls on the government to find a way to assist the private partners in the water sector, as well any recommendation from the CSIR on how to get students ready to work in the water sector.
A stitch in time will save our rural communities from poorly treated water, and/or untreated water, and the sector from a dearth of skilled water professionals.
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