West African Volta Basin countries seek ways to manage severe flooding, drought

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Officials from West African countries situated along the tributaries of the Volta Basin gathered at a workshop in the Ghanaian capital Monday to find solutions to perennial flooding and severe droughts that affect the socio-economic development of their populations.

The Volta Basin is the ninth-largest river basin in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a surface area of about 400,000 square kilometers across six countries, including Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Mali, and Benin.

Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Ghana’s Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, said in her opening remarks that severe Climate Change conditions of flooding and droughts” have become the perennial misfortunes of communities in the basin.

“Since 2007, floods and severe droughts have become an annual phenomenon in Ghana, especially along the White Volta, Black Volta, and Oti rivers. The inundation of flood-prone lands in these areas has caused tremendous damage to life, farmlands, and property,” said Dapaah.

She added that the spilling of water from the Bagre Dam had also added to the plights of communities along the course of the Volta, destroying boreholes, wells, farms, and infrastructure in northern Ghana.

She, therefore, urged the riparian countries of the Volta Basin to develop sustainable ways to reduce the impact of the perennial flooding and severe droughts in the basin.

According to Ghana’s National Disaster Management Organization, floods in the Volta Basin of northern Ghana have claimed 35 lives from 2018 to 2020.

Besides, the floods also collapsed 69 bridges, cutting off some communities, and rendering them inaccessible during the same period.

In her intervention, Rafatou Fofana, a senior hydrologist at the Volta Basin Authority, said the basin also had some positive impacts on its communities, which must be harnessed for the benefit of the people.

“Some tributaries of the Volta, which used to dry up in the dry seasons before the construction of the Bagre Dam, now retain water throughout the year, contributing to crop production in the catchment areas. So we must deepen these benefits to support socio-economic development in the region,” she added. Enditem

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