Regional News Thu, 2 Nov 2006

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Book on effects of the Volta and Kpong Dams on Communities Launched

Accra, Nov 2, GNA - A new book, 'Living in the Shadow of the Large Dams: Long Term Responses of Downstream and Lakeside Communities of Ghana's Volta River Project,' was launched in Accra on Wednesday.

The 439-page book written by Dr. Dzodzi Tsikata, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana is based on the study of the long term environmental and socio-economic impacts of the Akosombo and Kpong Dams, and the livelihood responses of downstream and lakeside communities.

The book discusses the long-term livelihood strategies of downstream communities and their members and draws attention to the widespread changes of livelihoods in response to the environmental decline of the lower Volta.

The book notes that the new livelihoods fashioned by men and women around the Volta Lake differed significantly from those of the pre-dam era.

For instance migration meant that access to land and the Volta Lake had to be continuously negotiated with host communities and the Volta River Authority.

It said, while fishing and farming continued to be the main livelihood activities, clam picking and creek fishing were no longer possible activities for Tongu women and men respectively.

The book concludes that the intensified exploitation of the river and; land posed a threat to the sustainability of livelihood activities. Commenting on the book Dr. Tsikata said the situation clearly demonstrated that some form of state intervention was required to reverse certain categories of environmental degradation and decline in livelihoods.

She said the absence of a dedicated institution to help deal with the needs of the communities affected by the Dam had led to a prolong suffering of the people.

Dr. Tsikata said any future development of a new dam project must take into account the long-term implications of its impact on the people of the communities in the catchment area of the project. Mr Joe Gidisu, Member of Parliament of comprehensive plan to decisively deal with the problems affecting communities in the lower Volta basin.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Director of ISSER, described the study as unique as it showed how the construction of the dam had affected and changed the livelihood pattern of the people. 01 Nov. 06

Source: GNA

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