The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, in his desire to confront the issue of frequent water shortages in the region, has challenged the Water Resources Commission (WRC) and its partners to create and maintain enduring relationships with the District Assemblies, Civil Society and the traditional authorities to ensure a lasting and integrated water resource management in the region.
According to the Minister, water management was cross-sectoral issues that ought to be incorporated in the region's developmental policies, and thus urged the Commission to work to perfection to enable his administration realize its vision.
Speaking at a day's capacity-building workshop on Water Resources Management for District Chief Executives, Presiding Members, District Planning and Budget Officers as well as sanitation officers in Tamale, Alhaji Idris entreated the District Assemblies and their chief executives to adopt methods of protecting and sustaining the water resources in the area.
The Minister, who bemoaned the “total neglect and abuse” of water resources by most Ghanaians, cautioned the people under his jurisdiction to desist from such acts and acknowledge the significance of water in the socio-economic development of their lives.
He enjoined the District Assemblies to consider adopting buffer zone by-laws ahead of the Buffer Zone Policy being prepared by the WRC to prohibit farming, mining, logging, construction and other human activities on the banks of the streams and rivers and also monitor activities in and around the other water bodies.
Alhaji Mustapha Idris noted that the region, which has become a household name for most Ghanaians as far as water deprivation was concerned, could make a dramatic turnaround if the people began to manage the streams or rivers across the region well.
He warned the people to make the dumping of liquid and solid waste into streams and rivers a thing of the past, stressing the need for them to ensure sound management of the water bodies in their respective districts.
The Executive Secretary of WRC, Dr. Charles A. Biney, said the Water Resources Commission, in order to carry out its mandate of regulating and managing the utilization of water resources in Ghana, had adopted the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), which required management of water resources to use river basin as a unit of planning in a decentralization manner.
According to him, the Commission had developed the position of involving and working together with District Assemblies in many spheres of water resources management.
Dr. Biney was optimistic that the District Assemblies would take charge and play a more prominent role in the coordination of water resources management activities according to the principle of management at the lowest appropriate level.