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14.07.2005 General News

Discussion on mgt of White Volta Basin

GNA

Bolgatanga, July 14, GNA - Stakeholders in Water resource Management from three Northern Regions, on Thursday began a two-day workshop to discuss issues on the White Volta Basin, under the theme: "Integrated Water Resources Management, Our Common Responsibility for Social and Economic Development".

The River Basin had been chosen by the Water Resource Commission (WRC) as its second pilot basin after River Densu due to its potential for flooding during heavy rains, low water levels in the dry season and the need to collaborate with neighbouring Burkina Faso, through which the River flows.

Participants would discuss the proposal activities to be carried out in managing the River Basin and Institutional capacity building for International Water Resource Management (IWRM). They would also discuss previous works and collaboration in IWRM in the White Volta Basin and IWRM concerns in the White Volta Basin. Mr Issah Ketekewu, Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, who opened the workshop noted that sustainable management of Ghana's water resources was dependent on maintaining and developing recognised capacities in water resources research.

Mr. Ketekewu said the government was therefore, committed to extending the traditional fields of water research to include research in social issues, integrated catchment management, ecosystem structure and function and the development of new technologies and management practice.

He said a draft national water policy that reflects an integrated management of water resources and access to safe water and sanitation had been formulated and might be given cabinet approval before the year ends.

"The government attaches great importance and is committed to the implementation of an integrated approach to water resource management, and the promotion of a new 'water culture' that emphasised conservation practices and other stewardship of this precious resource to prevent its misuse, over exploitation and pollution", Mr Ketekewu said.

Mr. Boniface Gambila, Upper East Regional Minister commended the work of the Water Resource Commission, saying that a significant part of the region's population depended on the White Volta for domestic water supply, agriculture, fishing, transportation and recreation. He said floods, and cropping close to the riverbanks and subsequent silting were some of the problems that needed to be solved.

The White Volta Basin Inception and Consultative Workshop is being organised by the Water Resource Commission with the support of Water Governance and Modelling Project of the Challenge Programme and the Glowa-Volta Project.

It would also discuss the role of communities along the River Basin, District Assemblies, the Private Sector and NGOs in Water Resource Planning and Management. Decisions on allocation of water resources would be developed and detailed in the programmes and activities to be implemented for the sustainable management of the White Volta Basin.

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