SLWM project targets Northern Ghana


The Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLWM) project will be implemented in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions, to reverse land degradation and enhance agricultural productivity.


The five- year project being funded by the Global Environment Facility at the cost of $8.15 million, will improve spatial planning through integration of Water Management into development plans.    


Mr. Isaac Charles Acquah, Principal Programme Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency announced this during the presentation of a document on the SLWM preparation process at a consultation workshop in Bolgatanga, Upper East Regional capital. 


He said project activities would focus on the sub-watersheds of major tributaries of the Volta flowing into the country from Burkina-Faso, particularly, the Kulpawn-Sisilli and the Red Volta sub-watersheds which  correspond with the biodiversity corridors and link the Mole-Gbele-Nazinga protected area complex.   


He said priority districts would include Sissala East, Sissala West, Wa East, Builsa, Kassena Nankana, Talensi Nabdam, Bawku West and West Mamprusi.


Mr. Acquah said, the project would present a comprehensive approach to sustainable land and watershed management that combines soft and hard investments at the community level, maintenance of ecological infrastructure, with planning activities to forge integration into a much larger programme of water and flood management infrastructure across the Northern Savannah eco-agricultural zone. 


The Principal Programme Officer said the project would support Sustainable Development Initiative in the Northern Savannah zone to achieve the vision of "a diversified and resilient economic zone" with significant regional environmental benefits.


This will be realised through the piloting of innovative models for grassroots watershed management, and provision of technical tools and capacity for macro-level planning as a basis for eventual scale-up linked to a programme of larger-scale flood and water management investments.


He said it would provide technical assistance, equipment and incremental operating costs to support community flood and land management at the micro-watershed level, including management of agricultural land and ecological infrastructure.


It would also be integrated with labour-intensive civil works investments in small-scale flood and water management infrastructure through the Social opportunities project to provide for a comprehensive approach.


Mr. Acquah said at the end of the project it is expected that there would be a positive impact on soil fertility improvement and greater agricultural productivity, with lower dependence on chemical inputs, improved long-term maintenance of irrigation schemes and regulate stream flow.


Mr. Acquah said the project would create diversified livelihoods from wider opportunities in agro-forestry and natural resource based activities including eco-tourism.


Greater availability of natural resources such as rich woody vegetation, wildlife and medicinal plants would also be made available as well as increase climate resilience of livelihood systems through improved soil moisture retention and water accessibility, and availability of natural resources as insurance against agricultural impacts.


Mr. Mark Woyongo, Regional Minister expressed the hope that the project would help reverse the extreme form of land degradation in the area that has resulted in the high level of poverty.


He said as part of measures to prevent desertification, Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies have been tasked to plant trees, which would also offer employment to the people.


He reminded the assemblies of their requirements under the Local Government Law of 1993, Act 462 to ensure the development, improvement, and management of human settlements and the environment and urged them to adhere strictly to the law.