Demonstration approach: As a response to these challenges, WANI and partners established a demonstration site in the Volta Basin and launched the pilot project ‘Improving Water Governance in the Volta River Basin’ (or PAGEV – Projet d’Amélioration de la Gouvernance de l’Eau dans le bassin de la Volta). PAGEV was based on three key areas of WANI’s vision: knowledge, capacity building (at all scales) and good governance. In partnership with national partners, including the Directorate of Water Resources in Burkina Faso, the Water Resources Commission in Ghana and community municipal assemblies, the project aimed to improve water governance through consensus on key water management principles and to institutionalise coordination mechanisms.
Improving Water Governance: The PAGEV project supported the setting up of local, national, transboundary and regional governance frameworks to improve the management of water resources in the Volta Basin focused on Burkina Faso and Ghana as they share most of the waters. The framework of the decision-making process is multi-scale and participatory, involving local grassroots committees, national level committees, the Local Transboundary Committee at the cross-national level and finally, regional level planning is coordinated through the Volta Basin Authority. These multi-level connections facilitate communication between all stakeholders and help to build trust and capacity across the basin.
Ecosystems and livelihoods: WANI supported the implementation of livelihood projects which aimed to demonstrate integrated water resources management at the local level and build trust and capacity through establishing the linkages between livelihood benefits and water governance. PAGEV provided the knowledge, technical advice and funding to help communities combat environmental degradation and provide income opportunities.
Knowledge and information:
- Creating baseline data: Surveys and assessments: Without crucial information about the nature of the water resources in the basin, key decisions could not be taken on how to manage these resources. Therefore, to improve water governance in the basin, essential baseline data was gathered to inform decision-making processes at all levels.
- Knowledge tools: Water management planning for climate change: The Water Evaluation and Planning system, or WEAP aims to incorporate freshwater management challenges into a practical, robust tool for integrated water resources planning. In 2008, PAGEV and partners set up a single application of the WEAP model for the Volta Basin (WEAP-Volta). Around 40 experts from Burkina Faso, Ghana and Benin received training on the use of the WEAP as a water resources management planning tool in 2009 and 2010. The training is supporting the establishment of a network of expertise which then can be drawn upon for water management in the basin. In addition, the scenarios formulated with the WEAP also contribute to managing risks from climate change and promote dialogue.