Ghana’s Water Relations With Burkina Faso: Hydropolitical Standpoint
Yankey, Ignatius Kobbina
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This thesis investigates the water relations between Ghana and Burkina Faso over the Volta Basin River from the Hydropolitical point of view. Water, an essential resource, is scarce. Ensuring water security is critical in socioeconomic development and the transformational agenda of every economy. The Volta River Basin States exploit the basin’s water resources to develop and sustain their economies. But there are “conflicting claims for a limited quantity and quality of water” between the two main riparian countries Ghana and Burkina Faso. To dichotomize this, Burkina Faso requires water for irrigation and Ghana needs water for hydropower generation, respectively, their key interest is to keep the water flowing. Through a qualitative research approach, this thesis looks at key issues and questions structured around the use of the basin, its historical development, the legal and institutional framework, population growth, economic and hydraulic developments. IR theory, thus, realism and liberalism, and the international doctrines and principles of shared water resources were applied. The study found that the historical role of water in national development, the colonial presence, hydraulic mission, cultural and sociopolitical needs, led to the development of the Hydropolitical relationship between both states. The governance of the basin has been on a need basis and has so far ensured the peaceful use of the resource. In water scarcity situation dispute becomes possible but in water abundance, there is cooperation. Also, it was found that population growth, economic and hydraulic developments combined with urbanization has affected water demand and has generated environmental concerns. The study concludes that, although there is a legal and institutional framework, there is a lack of commitment and inadequate financial resources that hinder long-term planning. To prevent possible future water-related conflicts, alternative energy sources should be developed and adequate attention should be given to wastewater management and groundwater development and management.