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Climate change will intensify pressure on Ghana’s Weija dam which provides water to Accra

Climate change will intensify pressure on Ghana’s Weija dam which provides water to Accra

Wood for Jagannath Temple. Credit: Shree Jagannatha Temple, Puri

New report says that water management at the catchment level in Accra can reduce flood risk to the capital city with four million inhabitants.

The Weija dam on the Densu river in Ghana. Photo: iStock
The Weija dam is located on the Densu river, Ghana. Photo by iStock

The Weija dam, which provides 80 per cent of the drinking water supply of Ghana’s capital, Accra, is particularly prone to flooding, according to a new report.

Catchment-level water management in the Accra plains can address the flood risk to the capital city’s infrastructure assets and nearly four million inhabitants, while retaining water to mitigate the impacts of droughts, the report added.

Ghana: A roadmap for resilient infrastructure in a changing environmentThe Ghanaian government prepared it with the assistance of various United Nations agencies. It was recently released in Accra.

The report focused on data provided by the Technical Working Group regarding the country’s 34 major dams. Five dams will particularly feel the projected impacts of climate change — Akosombo, Bui, Tono, Vea and Weija, it stated.

The report stated that 54% of dams surveyed are at risk from flooding, and 23% of dams will be subject to droughts by 2050.

The report stated that an increase in droughts could reduce river runoff. This could impact over 1.3 million people, mainly women and children who are often responsible to collect water.

Around 12 per cent of Ghana’s population obtain water from rivers for drinking purposes. This number increases to 26% in rural areas of savannah.

Unicef reports that one out of 10 people in the country must spend more than 30 seconds to access improved drinking water.

There is a strong correlation between poverty and water collection time. The poorest are 20 times more likely than the wealthier to spend more than 30 min collecting water.

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Medium-term priorities are focused on the implementation of water resource management measures in Ghana’s infrastructure plan. Only $76.25 million has been allocated for planned programmes in Ghana until 2025.

The report proposes 35 adaptation options for funders and investors to invest in Ghana’s future to avert a climate crisis. These include providing evidence-based adaptation projects that have an impact and enabling environmental interventions.

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