Quality of water resources in the southern parts of the Ashanti Gold Belt

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Some aspects of the quality of water resources in the Southern Parts of the Ashanti Volcanic Greenstone Belt have been investigated in this work. As a background study a survey was carried out in the study area to gather information on the socioeconomic activities of the people and the activities of the mining companies that may have impact on water resources. The result indicated, among other things, that the environmental awareness of the inhabitants was low and some of the small-scale mining activities, especially the illegal ones are posing a great threat to the future availability of good quality water. Analyses of water samples from 125 sampling locations representing ground water bodies (48 boreholes and 34 wells) and 39 surface water bodies (streams, springs, rivers) in the study area indicated that a substantial percentage of some of the water bodies in the study area had relatively high levels of manganese, iron, mercury, and chromium whilst calcium, copper, lead and zinc, cadmium and nickel concentrations were either quite low or in trace quantities in the area. Most of the boreholes and wells had relatively lower pH values than permitted by WHO standard. These might be due to geochemical and biochemical oxidation of suiphides, leading to increased hydrogen ion activity. Almost all the surface waters with pH values between 6.5-8.5 were samples taken from the Tarkwaian whilst more than 80% of those with pH less than 6.5 were samples from the upper Birimian (metavolcanics). More than 50% of the sampling locations, especially the well samples had at least three parameters outside their respective threshold values.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Environmental Resources Management, 2001