The Water Resources Commission (WRC) has inaugurated three maiden Local Water Committees (LWCs) within the Black Volta Basin located in the Lawra and Nandom Municipalities and the Lambussie District of the Upper West Region.
The Committees are the Kamba One and Two LWCs located in the Nandom and Lawra Municipalities respectively and the Sentu/Buli LWC also located in the Lambussie District of the region.
Mr Stephen Acheampong Boateng, the Head of Finance at the WRC, inaugurated the three LWCs at Lawra, Nandom, and Lambussie on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Mr Ben Ampomah.
He said the inaugural workshop was the first in the history of Ghana’s Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) initiatives by the WRC supported by the (Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA/ASDI) through the International Union for Conservation (IUCN).
He indicated that the inauguration of the Committees was particularly important due to the current rate of water use, climate change trends in the entire Volta Basin, and the need for local level contribution in IWRM.
He explained that the Volta River was a transboundary river that Ghana shared with five other countries, which served various purposes both at the local and national levels including hydropower generation, farming, fishing, industrial activities, and supporting aquatic life.
“Despite these benefits, the basin typically suffers from extreme conditions of droughts and floods”, he said and stressed that addressing extreme events from a national perspective, based on a management approach, was therefore essential to mitigate impacts.
Mr Boateng noted that the government, through the WRC, had established seven river Basin Boards and offices for the implementation of IWRM plans in the country, adding that, the implementation of these plans required the active involvement of the LWC.
The Head of Finance noted that despite these interventions, they still needed to do more, adding that it was gratifying that Ghana and the other riparian countries were benefiting from the Regional Partnership on Water and Environment in Central and West Africa (PREE), which was being implemented by the IUCN in collaboration with Global Water Partnership in West Africa (GWP-WA) and the WRC.
He said the project would propose long term actions for strengthening of resilience and capacities at national and transboundary levels to be implemented by the National Authorities and other Regional Agencies.
“I wish to assure you all that we will support and implement all actions that may come through the inaugural workshop in collaboration with partners and stakeholders”, Mr Boateng said.
Mr Jacob D. Dary, the Lawra Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), lauded the composition of the Committee and urged members to work very hard and collaborate with the WRC to promote the water bodies within the Municipality.
The MCE who is also a member of the Committee assured the WRC of the total commitment of the Assembly to see to the effective implementation of the work plans.
Mr Joachim Ayiiwe Abungba, Principal Basin Officer, WRC, Black Volta Basin, urged members of the three LWC to endeavor to contribute their quota to ensure that they had sustainable water resources for everybody within the various catchment areas and beyond.
Naa Bo-ib Bankang Nyozi II, who represented Naa Puowelle Karbo III, the Paramount Chief of the Lawra Traditional Council pledged the commitment of the Traditional Authorities to the effective implementation of the work plan of the committee.
The mandate of the committees include the adoption of work plans and annual budget for the conservation and protection of water resources within the competency area of the LWC; initiating and implementing activities connected with the development of water resources within the areas; and constituting specialized committees to support its work.
They shall also elect members of the Executive Committee to implement its decisions; explore funding opportunities to support their activities, and be responsible for the resolution of water related conflicts within their jurisdiction among many other responsibilities.