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General News Thu, 21 Sep 2006

Water in Ghana's river basins to decrease by 40%

Accra, Sept. 21, GNA 96 Water in river basins within Ghana have been projected to reduce by between 20 per cent and 40 per cent by 2050, Mr Kofi Poku-Adusei, Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, said on Thursday.

He said the impact of such a drastic decrease in the volume of water available would be worsened if the domestic and commercial demand for water should increase.


"With increasing water demand for domestic, commercial and industrial water usage, the country would face serious water scarcity," he said.


Mr Poku-Adusei was addressing about 90 participants attending a three-day African Regional Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation in Ghana organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The three-day workshop would offer the participating African countries the possibility to exchange information on observing climate change and assessing their impact and their countries' vulnerability to these changes.


It would also offer the countries the opportunity to share their experiences in planning and implementation of concrete adaptation measures in the areas of agriculture and food security, water resources, coastal zones and natural ecosystem.


Mr Poku-Adusei said currently Ghana was undergoing electricity load shedding, because the Volta Lake, which provided the bulk of the country's electric power, had been negatively impacted by climate change that had resulted in low rainfall to recharge the dam. He said available information indicated that surface water inflow into major basins in Ghana, including the White Volta Basin would decrease substantially because of increases in temperature and decrease in precipitation.

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Mr Poku-Adusei said the impact of climate change was having its toll on agriculture adding that studies carried out had indicated that the production of cereal, root crops and fisheries would be severely affected.


"Available information in this direction reveals that the yield of maize in Ghana will decrease by seven per cent by 2020," he said, adding that this would impact negatively on women, who formed 60 per cent of the workforce.


He therefore urged countries to come out with workable solution to halt the devastating effects of climate change.


He said to ensure equity and enforce the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities Government would continue to urge its development partners to take all the steps practicable to ensure that the needed financial support and technical assistance were made available for the development of the Continent.


Ghana, he noted, supported the proposal by South Africa to create an African Climate Change Fund to finance climate change adaptation and technology transfer.

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"It is my fervent hope that the upcoming Twelfth Session of the Conference of Parties in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2006 will reach agreement on this crucial initiative by South Africa," Mr Poku-Adusei said.


Mr William K. Agyemang Bonsu, Climate Change Coordinator, EPA, who read a speech on behalf of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation Chair, Mr Thomas Becker, said Africa was the Continent most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, mainly due to its low capacity to adapt.


He said he was, however, encouraged that many African countries were far advanced in their assessment of urgent adaptation needs through the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) process. "This, as well as other ongoing adaptation assessments, is helping to provide us with a clearer picture of what can be done to help the Continent to confront the perils of the climate change phenomenon," Mr Becker said.


Mr Jonathan Allotey, Executive Director, EPA, in a welcoming address said historically, Africa was the least to have contributed to the emissions of greenhouse gases and it was only reasonable and fair that Africa should have safeguards against the impacts of climate change. 21 Sept. 06

Source: GNA