New policy for Ghana's river basins
The Water Resources Commission (WRC) on Wednesday said it had formulated a draft buffer zone policy document which sought to outline a national vision on buffer zones as part of managing Ghana's river basins in an integrated manner.
This is in accordance with the Commission's Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach to managing water resources, and a bid to harmonize traditional and existing public institutional standards on buffer zones in Ghana.
A statement signed by Ms. Adwoa Munkua Dako, Public Relations Officer of the WRC, said the policy would ensure that all designated riparian buffer zones along rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs or other surface water bodies were adequately vegetated and sustainably managed.
The statement said the policy had become necessary because even though the vegetation extending along the landscapes of water bodies in Ghana provided a wide range of socio-economic and biophysical functions, human activities had degraded the vegetative cover at headwaters and along the banks of many river systems and other surface water bodies.
It said poor and unconstrained practices such as uncontrolled logging and mining, human settlement, urbanization, livestock rearing and poor agricultural practices were jeopardizing the physical quality of the environment, the hydrological and ecological support systems and the livelihood of local inhabitants around these water bodies.
The statement also said the major objective of the policy was to promote an efficient and sustainable use of buffer zones resources to address food security and income generation for local communities and private IWRM and development to ensure the sustainability of water resources in both quantity and quality.