Accra, Aug 31, GNA- Climate change has been identified as the most significant challenge to water security in northern Ghana, a new study has revealed.
The impacts on water is also being aggravated by the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events such as floods and droughts in communities already experiencing water stress and poor sanitation.
The study indicated that water availability would become more unreliable with increased climate variability, aggravating the situation in already water-stressed regions in Ghana.
Water Aid Ghana, an international non-governmental organisation, commissioned the study to investigate the impact of climate change on water security in four districts, namely, Wa Municipality, Bongo, Kasena Nankana West, and Bawku West Districts as a case study.
The study also helped to review Ghana’s National Climate Adaptation Plan (NCAP) and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for purposes of identifying gaps and missing timelines and how to integrate water, sanitation and hygiene issues.
It also helped to conduct stakeholder mapping to inform WaterAid Ghana’s advocacy on climate and water security.
At a stakeholder advocacy engagement held on Tuesday in Accra, Mr Jesse Coffie Danku, Head, Sustainable Programmes Department, Water Aid Ghana, who presented the findings of the study, said climate change was highly affecting water access for people in the four selected districts.
He said majority of respondents, (67.4 per cent) in the study said they had experienced change in access to water, while 31.5 per cent of the respondents indicated that there had been no change in access to water, with 1.1 per cent respondents who thought they do not know about any change in terms of their access to water.
In indicating the specific changes associated with access to water, 25.8 per cent of respondents were of the view that low water table, increases in community boreholes, and dry wells and boreholes were the changes they experienced in accessing water.
Another observed change, according to respondents, was the amount of time spent in accessing water, where 12.9 per cent of the respondents said “they now spend more time than before, and 9.7 per cent believe the erratic nature of water supply is a sign of current changes in climate.”
Mr Danku indicated that, meanwhile, another research had also revealed that 80 per cent of diseases were caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.
Also, climate change, water and sanitation were so interlinked, and so as the phenomenon continued to threaten the achievements already made in WASH service provision and sustainability in the country, there was the need to take action to safeguard the situation.
This was because water, sanitation and hygiene were critical for socio-economic development, food security, healthy environments, as well as central to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and improving the health, welfare and productivity of the population.
Mr Danku, therefore, said to tackle the challenges of climate change and water sustainability, particularly in the five northern regions, there was the need for government to prioritise safe water and sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues as national climate adaptation strategy , especially in the northern sector.
The problem could also be tackled through an effective implementation of national adaptation plans and the NDCs with clear synergies and opportunities.
“There is the need for government to embark on effective country-driven climate change adaptation measures by rigorously pursuing its NCAP and NDCs to urgently address water security to reduce vulnerability and build climate resilience in Ghana.”
He said as government was currently reviewing its national policies on climate change water, it was important that all stakeholders joined forces to push for the integration and implementation of WASH issues in national policies and programmes.