VBA seeks US$20m to build dams, irrigation projects along Volta basin
The Volta Basin Authority (VBA) is in discussions with development partners to secure US$20 million to build and develop dams, irrigation projects and other infrastructure along the Volta basin.
The partners include World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Global Environmental Fund and Netherland International Agency, among others.
In 2006, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Mali and Togo established the VBA with the objective to harmonise national policies on integrated water resources management in the basin and coordinate efforts for the development of water resources for the supply of water, hydropower production, irrigation, fishing and conservation of aquatic systems.
According to Robert Yaovi Dessouassi, Executive Director, VBA, the investment was to explore and improve the economic potentials of the basin for the benefit of dwellers along the basin.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day Water Experts Committee in Accra yesterday, he said, the projects would also protect the water resource from depletion and contamination due to uncontrolled logging, mining activities and human settlements.
He said the Authority was presently developing a water charter that would spell out how resources in the Volta basin would be utilised for the development of the six countries which have access to the basin.
The Charter, he stated, would be reviewed and adopted by the VBA Council of Ministers and further approved by the various Heads of States before it is implemented.
Among its other priorities, Mr Dessouassi said, was to finalise the Observatory for Water Resources and Related Ecosystems that would assess the environmental situation, establish a monitoring system, improve stakeholder involvement and formulate and implement a communication plan.
He urged the countries to increase their contributions to the VBA to enable the Authority operate effectively and build on its work to safeguard the basin.
Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said the pressure from climate change and climate variability as well as human activities along the basin, have resulted in a depletion and degradation of the water resource.
At the trans-boundary level, she said pollution, accidental flooding, spills from upstream reservoirs and protection of local communities as well as existing and future investments, were major concerns which have compounded the depletion.
She reiterated the need for the six countries to intensify their collective efforts to protect and sustain the water resources for sustained availability.
“It is clear that ensuring that sustained availability and utilisation of water resources is unavoidable. It is true that we are working to strengthen our international relations on trans-boundary water resources development and management for the benefits of the population in our countries. But all of us need to do more in our collective efforts to protect and sustain our water resources,” she added.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS