A number of towns and communities in the northern part of the country will be relieved of water challenges, with the expected rehabilitation of 10 dams located across four regions.
This is to help communities have all-year-round access to water for crop-irrigation, especially during the dry season and also for other uses – eventually reducing the impact of climate change on their livelihoods.
The Chief of Adaboya in the Bongo district of the Upper East Region, Naa Ayidaana Atampugre, said: “Our reservoirs get dried up within the year, and our women have to walk far distances in search of water. The livestock too suffer, so we are grateful for the rehabilitation”.
The rehabilitation of the dams, which was commissioned by the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation-Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, is expected to be completed within 6 months.
The intervention falls within a 4-year project being implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Adaptation Fund.
The project is seeking to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of rural communities to climate change impacts and risks on water resources in Northern Ghana. In this area, increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events are worsening water-scarcity and impacting negatively on livelihood activities of communities.
The project is also providing boreholes to improve access to clean water in the over-50 communities being covered. As part of the project, trees are being planted around the dams to increase the capacity of the catchment area to retain flood-water, and prevent erosion and siltation of the reservoirs.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said government is happy to be working with UNDP and other state agencies to provide these interventions, with funding from the Adaptation Fund Board.
However, he admonished the residents to “protect the water-bodies, stop cutting the trees and replant more trees”.
The Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP, Mr. Louis Kuukpen, indicated that giving the communities access to clean water is in line with objectives of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which aims to ensure clean water access and proper sanitation for all by 2030.
He also urged the communities to own the initiatives and take care of them.
Mr. Kuukpen advised that the project is critical since it responds to climate action. “As we invest a lot of resources in it, we would like the chiefs and people of the communities to see the projects as their own, and hence maintain and keep them for generations to come.”
The communities are also being supported with other interventions: such as shea butter and groundnut oil extraction, beekeeping, fish-farming, tree seedling nurseries, and dry season gardening, all to help reduce the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods.