Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan, Upper West Regional Minister, has said human action has led to the degradation of the environment and the perennial drying of rivers and streams in our communities.
Alhaji Alhassan said this during a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) workshop held in Wa on the development of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Plan for the Black Volta Basin.
He said the Black Volta Basin which covers most of the Upper West Region was no exception from the abuse, adding that the basin had typically suffered extreme conditions of drought and floods.
The Regional Minister said it was refreshing that the Water Resources Commission (WRC) seeks to develop an IWRM Plan for the Black Volta Basin.
“I wish to suggest that in the process of developing the IPRM Plan, conscious efforts should be made to link the IWRM Plan with others such as the National Medium-Term Development Planning Framework, the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan as well as embrace the Sustainable Development Goals and targets”, he said.
Mr Ben Ampomah, Executive Secretary of the WRC, said government has since 1999 acknowledged the concept of IWRM as a means to improve the efficient use and conservation of water resources.
He said the WRC had since its establishment adopted the concept of IWRM as one of its key strategic implementing tools towards realizing its mandate of regulating and managing the water resources of the country as well as coordinating the related policies.
He said the process of developing an IWRM Plan for the basins started in 2004 and by the end of 2013, six River Basin IWRM Plans had been completed for the Densu, White Volta, Ankobra, Pra, Tano, Dayi Basins and now the Black Volta Basin.
Mr Ampomah said the first step of developing these IWRM Plans was to identify, screen and prioritize the issues/problems that needed to be addressed and then propose measures and actions towards addressing such issues.
Secondly, he said there is the national harmonized Buffer Zone Policy (2012), which sets out policy actions and measures towards the proper creation of riparian buffers along water bodies with the view to develop such water bodies and vital ecosystems, while at the same time providing economic benefits for the populace.
“We are therefore gathered here as part of a planned broad based stakeholder workshops towards the development of the Black Volta Basin IWRM Plan and to seek your inputs into the Buffer Zone Legislative Instrument”, he said.
The workshop was organised by the WRC in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Adaptation Fund Project dubbed “Increased Resilience to Climate change in Northern Ghana through the Management of Water Resources and Diversification of Livelihoods”.