Monday, March 25, 2013

Ghana, Togo to share water dam

World water day participants
By Patrick Baidoo

The likely hood of countries engaging each other in conflicts as a result of water scarcity and the socio-economic benefits they stand to gain has prompted Ghana and Togo to consider the construction of a common water dam.

The idea, which is in its preparative stage will provide both countries with 80 million gallons of water daily from the the Volta River at Sogakope to serve five communities in Ghana and parts of Togo.

This concept falls within the “Benefit Sharing” approach of the trans-boundary water management system but before both countries hit the ground there, requires detailed procedures and guidelines to ensure peace and security for parties before such a venture takes off.

Trans-boundary water management entreats institutions in different countries but within a certain geographical to share ideas and formulate policies to protect water bodies internal and externally while sharing the benefits through cooperation and infrastructure development.

Issues which both countries would be looking at are purely legal and institutional frameworks as well as political will.

This initiative was made known by Madam Bernedette Adjei of the Water Resources Commission during a symposium to mark World Water Day in Accra, recently.

Since 1993, on the 22nd of March each year, countries all over the world observe World Water Day. A relevant theme is chosen every year to focus attention on an aspect of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

International Year of Water Coopertion

The theme for 2013 was, “International Year of Water Cooperation”. Delivering a paper titled, “ Trans-boundary Water Management, Diplomacy, Legal Frameworks, Challenges and the Way Forward”, she indicated that the country had come a long way towards addressing its trans-boundary water management issues hence the need for the right thing to be done before implementation.

She noted, “Ghana has come a long way in this direction hence the right things have to be done before this whole concept takes off. Linkages between national and international trans-boundary institutions need to be strengthened”.

More importantly, she called for greater emphasis on the encouragement of civil society and private sector in the scheme of things as well as political will to nurture the opportunities that trans-boundary water cooperation brings.

On his part, the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hon. Collins Dauda noted that the effects of climate change calls for cooperation among the six riparian States (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Mali, Cote d’ivoire, and Togo) to manage their water systems.

“World Water Day should therefore inspire us to intensify awareness on the subject. It must motivate us to come out with initiatives and arrangements which are beneficial for international, national, regional and local cooperation for improved water productivity and sustained natural resources”, he said.

He emphasized, “The effects of climate change and its emerging issues has become so critical that we have to foster partnerships and cooperation among stakeholders to mitigate its consequences”, adding, “The impact of climate change on agriculture, infrastructure and socio-economic development meant that there should be internal and trans-boundary collaboration to manage resources.”

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