Chiefs in the Bongo Traditional area have taken a stern position to stamp their authority in the management and protection of the Vea Dam, to improve its quality and ensure its sustainable use.
The Chiefs declared their commitment to ensuring responsible upkeep of the water resource when the Water Resources Commission (WRC) and its partners, the Dutch Water Authorities under the Blue Deal project engaged them at Gowrie to rally support in the implementation of interventions on the dam.
They said they would work together to find ways to get harmonized byelaws that would punish any person that fell foul to the laws in the communities, as part of measures to safeguard and manage the water resource and appealed for tree seedlings to plant for the protection of the water body.
They also called for the dam to be de-silted.
Mr Jesse Kazapoe, the Principal Basin Officer, in an address to the chiefs on the need for the engagement said the WRC needed the support of the Chiefs to strengthen water governance structures in the protection of water and every natural resource.
“We cannot say we want to manage water bodies without consulting our chiefs and if chiefs lead the way their people will respond,” he said.
He said though it was an important task of WRC to protect water resources and any other resource that affected the environment, it could not achieve much if the role of Chiefs was downplayed in the usage and administration of the resources.
“We know the role water plays in our traditional set up and every effort put into protecting these resources goes a long way to help us as individuals and the communities to develop,” he added.
Mr Jaab Bos, the Head of the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), Blue Deal, White Volta Basin, outlined activities such as setting up of sub basins and governance structures and IWRM interventions in the Kpasenkpe sub basin where the Vea dam belongs.
He said the major challenges confronting the Vea water resource included poor water quality of the dam, siltation, grey water going into the Vea emanating from the Gowrie Senior High School, and deforestation.
The three-year project is in its second phase, from 2023-2026 and has so far built the capacity of stakeholders in the Gambaga sub- Basin to prepare communities for the interventions there.
Mr Bos reiterated that the area approach strategy applied in the implementation process of phase one, piloted within the Kpasenkpe sub Basin where Tree Aid, an NGO was supported to raise and plant 22,000 trees in a reforestation project along the Vea dam in 20 communities and planting of vetiver grass to reduce siltation and pollution of the dam would be replicated in the second phase.