She said water has no substitute and should, therefore, be owned, protected and treated as a precious mineral by those living around and depending on the resource.
Mrs Darko made the appeal during a one-day district awareness creation on integrated water resources management in the Black Volta (BV) Basin held at Nadowli in the Nadowli-Kaleo District of the Upper West Region.
“I encourage you to give the same protection and treatment you will give to gold to the water resources close to you”, she appealed.
On the WRC, Mrs Dako said it was established by parliament in 1996 to manage and regulate the water resources in Ghana, adding that since then, the Commission had been setting up Basin offices to help manage the affairs of the Basins.
This, she said, led to the setting up of the BV Basin Office in Wa and urged the community members to work closely with the office to ensure the effective management of the water resources.
Mr Joachim Ayiiwe Abungba, the Acting BV Basin Officer, said the percentage of the Black Volta in Ghana was 14 per cent and that the whole of the Upper West Region was within the basin and sharing boundary with Cote d’Voire and Burkina Faso.
He said currently, about 4.5 million people were depending on the BV and that it is further estimated that by 2025 about 8 million people would be depending on it.
Mr Abungba said about 70 per cent of the stakeholders identified used the water resources at the Basin, hence the need to educate them to understand their roles in the management of the water resources.
He said deforestation and uncontrolled drilling, growing of water weeds, sand wining, illegal mining and bad farming practices among others were some of the challenges of water resources management.
The Acting BV Basin Officer said the way forward was to increase awareness on water resources, develop programmes towards addressing the existing water problems in the Basin and enforcement of the existing legal framework.
Mr John Bosco Bomansaan, the Nadowli-Kaleo District Chief Executive (DCE), said water is a serious resource in life, hence the need to implement measures that would ensure the sustainable management of it.
The participants at the event were taken through various topics such as “overview of WRC mandate and activities”, “water resources management issues in the BV Basin”, “WRC Water Use Regulation”, “WRC Riparian Buffer Zone Policy” and “Water Resources Management in Nadowli-Kaleo District”.