Stakeholders discuss plans to develop water regulations in the Volta Basin
A two day national consultative review workshop on a diagnostic report for development of water charter for water governance and sustainable trans-boundary water resource management within the White Volta Basin is underway in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
Participants are expected to review a draft report on the technical, legal and institutional diagnostics study conducted by BRLi consultants, a French consulting firm supported by the World Bank.
The stakeholders will jointly identify priority problems and also come out with common expectations, and develop measures for the Volta Basin Water Charter.
Mr Robert Dessouassi Yaovi, Executive Director of the Volta Basin Authority, who outlined the background to the project in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the project was part of a 10- year strategic plan spanning from 2015 to 2024.
He said out of the ten years, a five-year priority plan, implemented through the Volta Basin strategic Action Program Implementation Project (VSIP) from 2015 to 2019 as the first component of the project will help develop water charter for the basin.
Mr Yaovi said the laws, when developed would govern the management of water in the basin adding that the document would serve as reference to the six partner countries including Ghana, Mali, Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso that share the Volta Basin.
The Executive Director said water from the Volta River was jointly used by the partner countries hence the need to regulate its use adding that the laws would help to avoid future conflicts within the basin.
He said there could be no cooperation without legal basis and for the implementation of projects within the priority actions to be successful, partner states had to come together with processes for drafting the water charter, hence the justification for the World Bank to commit funds to the programme.
Mr Yaovi said the Water Charter was a set of laws which would govern the use of water in the Volta Basin which is an international water body.
He said Council of Ministers were expected to adopt the draft, while a summit of head of states and the heads of the six countries and their Parliaments would sign the pact to ratify the document with copies submitted to the African Union, and the United Nations.
He lauded Ghana for her effort at establishing the Akosombo and Bui dams to produce electricity and noted that power from the grid is shared by some of the partners.
He called on all partner countries to take Water governance issues seriously and advised regional institutions to combine poverty reduction strategies using the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) approach and urged them to appropriate the Water Charter as a common legacy.
”if we don’t have Water Charter then on what basis are we sharing water resources” he said and added that the cooperation could not be successful without effective regulations and emphasized on the need for the countries to support the drive.
Mr Donnan Tay, an official from the National Water Directorate in Ghana, reiterated the President of the Republic Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo- Addo’s commitment to improving water and sanitation issues.
He acknowledged the role of the Water Resources Commission and pledged continuous coordination and monitoring to ensure institutions responsible for implementation of activities in the basin were in tune.
The Volta River Basin Authority was established in 2007 charged to promote cooperation among parties in the development of the basin, promote implementation of integrated water resource management and the equitable distribution of benefits resulting from the various activities.