West Africa’s Volta River always seemed to have either too much or too little water to support the villages along its banks. WANI helped form water-user associations that linked communities across the Burkina Faso–Ghana border, as well as national-level committees. A Code of Conduct was developed between Ghana and Burkina Faso to manage shared waters .

Mali, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Cote d’Ivoire

The WANI project for improving water governance in West Africa’s Volta River Basin focused on Burkina Faso and Ghana, which contain 85% of the surface area of the river. Both countries depend on Volta waters for electricity, irrigation and municipal water supply.  The amount of water available is either too little, due to damming of the river, or too much, due to downstream flooding. Water pollution and invasive aquatic plants that block river flow were also problems.

WANI aimed to improve water governance by achieving consensus on key management principles and by establishing institutional coordination mechanisms. Institutions and stakeholders at all levels, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, were involved. At the local level, WANI used existing national regulations to organize a transboundary forum of local communities and establish a pilot zone in the White Volta sub-basin, where the river forms the frontier between Ghana and Burkina Faso. The forum brought together stakeholders to resolve local transboundary conflicts and promote planning and management among communities on either side of the river.  Livelihood projects were supported to demonstrate integrated management of water resources, build trust and capacity and address priority issues. For example, 16km of degraded river banks along the White Volta were revegetated using fruit trees and fuelwood species to combine riverbank restoration and livelihood benefits. Rehabilitation of a small dam captured water for irrigation and cattle-watering. In six villages on either side of the river, wells were constructed or rehabilitated. All projects were implemented in partnership with local community and nonprofit organizations. Participating communities were given training, including financial management skills, to set up and run management committees for their projects. The pilot projects strengthened skills for participation in community watershed committees.

At the international level, WANI supported development of a guiding code of conduct by the Burkina-Ghana Joint Technical Committee on IWRM (JTC-IWRM). It also helped facilitate a six-country agreement (Mali, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Cote d’Ivoire) to establish the Volta Basin Authority which is the first step to develop a basin-wide approach to managing the Volta River. The code of conduct is now being used as the model for developing a water charter for the Volta Basin.


Image gallery

Video gallery showing "Le Bassin de la Volta" number one and two

Stories: Replanting Faith Into The River Banks and Flowing Words Calm Troubled Waters

Code of Conduct 2006

Water Audit 2007

Situational Analysis (GWI)