Volta Delta under threat

Thursday 2nd February, 2017
By Joyce Danso, GNA

Accra, Feb. 2, GNA - Ghana’s Volta Delta is yet to be recognized as critical and viable potential ecosystem that could spur sustainable development for communities, Mr. Ken Kinney Executive Director, Development Institute has said.

According to him currently communities situated at the countries Volta Delta wallowed in abject poverty. The Volta Delta is near Keta and Dzelukope in the Volta Region.

Mr. Kinney noted that the Volta Delta was under threat of resource exploitation such as salt mining, commercial agriculture, fragmentation of habitats, unplanned human settlement, salt water intrusion, siltation and destruction of mangroves and coastal erosion.

Mr. Kinney was speaking at a Volta Delta Stakeholders meeting in Accra organized by the Development Institution, an initiator of the creation of the Delta Alliance–Ghana wing.

The meeting was attended by Civil Society Organisations, the Volta River Authority, (VRA), Volta Basin Authority, Water Resources Commission, Experts from Delta Alliance an International non-governmental organization and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It also aimed at improving the resilience of the world’s deltas in the face of climate change as well as seeks the mandate of the Development Institute to continue to lead the process for a full membership of the Delta Alliance–Ghana Wing.

Mr. Kinney noted that the country was waking up to the need for a long term development planning for the Volta Delta, which would be fed into a research agenda for the nation.

Mr. Fred Smiet, First Secretary, Water and Climate Change in the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana, noted that Ghana could not deal with Deltas without managing river basins.

Mr. Smeit noted that activities in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Benin could affect the Volta Delta.

He however expressed regret that 100 kilometers of Ghana’s beaches were full of plastics waste, adding that the Netherland would continue to support advocacy.

According to him despite the availability of researches, Ghana continues to suffer massive deforestation, water pollution, and galamsey activities.

Mr. Smeit urged stakeholders to push for enforcement of laws to revert the adverse effect of climate change.

Dr Nick Beunders, DI Programmes Consultant recounted that Ghana’s Volta Delta had a unique ecosystem and landscape which when tapped would offer livelihood for many communities saddled with poverty.

Dr Beunders mentioned the sea defence, oil exploration, port development and encroachment as some of the factor militating against deltas.

He said it was important for government to establish an effective structure for monitoring and enforcement of regulations in the management of Deltas.

Dr Beunders indicated that Ghana’s Volta Delta “is a treasure well hidden to the world but this has to get onto the map.”

Dr Peter van Leelen, a member of Delta Alliance Secretariat, Netherlands noted that secretariat has 17 active Delta wings in Ghana, Kenya, China, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, and Spain among others.

Dr van Leelen, said it was crucial for these countries to come together and share knowledge, research data and assess various deltas and innovation benefits associated with them.

He identified erosion and flooding as some of the challenges confronting delta in member countries.

Mr. Maxwell Boateng- Gyimah, Executive Secretary, Global Water Partnership, Ghana, said the country has 32 river stations and nine water reservoirs nationwide.

However, Mr. Boateng-Gyimah said water governance had been saddled with challenges including conflict of use of water, inadequate legal and regulatory mechanisms, poor attitude towards handling of the environment and political interference.

GNA