Building climate-resilience into basin water management

Project summary

Anthropogenic activities including illegal and uncontrolled mining and logging have seriously degraded the landscapes of many river basins in West Africa posing significant challenges to sustainable water resources management (WRM). Climate change (CC) is projected to impose additional stress on the water resources of these basins. The Pra (23,200 km2, 6.2 million people) and Densu (2,600 km2, 2.5 million people) are 2 river basins of high economic importance to Ghana that also face the above problems. They are the main sources of domestic water supply for major cities such as Koforidua (1.7 million people) and Accra (40% of a population of 3.2 million) and contribute substantially to the livelihoods of basin dwellers via irrigated agriculture and bottled water production. Both basins have existing WRM plans but new ones are required soon. These can benefit from a more robust climate change impact analysis using the newest IPCC scenarios. Existing impact studies on West African basins have not focused on a fully integrated analysis of the consequences of CC, LULC changes, and changes in the socio-economic and political developments.

This study proposes an interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary approach that considers WRM in two key river basins in Ghana in an integrated manner. The systems approach integrates CC, Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) and LULC change scenarios, water supply sources, quantities and quality, and competing demands (industrial, irrigation, livestock, municipal, ecosystems etc.) with analysis of current and projected future water uses, water infrastructure portfolios, existing natural water infrastructure in the basins, indigenous knowledge in WRM and water governance in the impact analysis. The generated trade-offs in WRM decisions and the developed stakeholder framework for basin WRM ensures that the study approach also supports and facilitates the much desired stakeholder engagement in sustainable WRM in river basins.

Outputs

First-year report: The project has started reviewing past work on climate analysis, hydrology, groundwater, land-use/-cover, economic valuation of ecosystem services, water resources governance and climate change policies in Ghana, with special focus on the Pra and Densu river basins. When completed, the results will be published as peer review articles. Collection of historic data needed for setting up and adapting ensemble of simulation models to the basins are about 70-80% completed. Specific simulation models to be used in the study have been identified. Initial field travels were conducted to identify and interact with key stakeholders in the basins, assess conditions of existing hydro-meteorological and groundwater monitoring stations and to identify locations for installing new equipment. Evaluation of suppliers for the supply of hydro-meteorological and groundwater monitoring equipment have been completed. Also, the project has completed recruitment of 7 PhD students to support project delivery.

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