Reversing the risks of climate change impacts in Northern Ghana

May 21, 2021

More than 10,000 inhabitants of 22 communities in Northern Ghana can now access potable water through the intervention by UNDP's CREW project. (Photo credit: Stephen Kansuk/ UNDP in Ghana)

As part of UNDP’s efforts to increase the adaptive capacity of rural communities to climate change impacts, while supporting the Government of Ghana to achieve Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the “Community Resilience through Early Warning (CREW)’’ project supported the drilling of 22 operational boreholes in 22 communities in the Bawku West and Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo Districts of the Upper East and Northern regions respectively. These boreholes are providing access to clean water to over 10,000 beneficiaries, mainly women and children.

The simple hand-pump technology was adopted for various reasons. First, the boreholes can reach deeper aquifers than wells and, thus, are more flexible for use in Northern Ghana where aquifers are located 10 to 60 meters underground. Second, the low-income levels of beneficiary communities and their disperse settlements make boreholes a more effective and efficient water supply system given their low maintenance cost.

The lack of, or inadequate drinking water arising out of extreme climate events such as droughts and floods, increases the exposure of people, especially women and children to water-borne and hygiene related diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera.

The provision of the boreholes has helped to significantly reduce the vulnerabilities of the rural dwellers, especially women and children to adverse climate change impacts.

Interacting with a section of the Timon- Gurre community, UNDP Country Director, Mr. Dominic Sam emphasized the critical role women play in making communities resilient. He encouraged members of the communities to ensure active participation of women in the management of the water supply systems. 

These boreholes serve not only for domestic uses, but also provide water for more than 3,000 livestock in the beneficiary communities. "We no more spend long hours in search of potable water and in competing among ourselves and with livestock for water", says Faustina John Kitunam of the Bombilla community, a beneficiary of the intervention. 

The provision of the boreholes by UNDP has not only helped reduce water borne diseases and the time and distance our women and children cover in search of water but also served our animals.  UNDP with funding of US$ 5.2million from the Norwegian Government, and in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Organization is implementing the four-year project aimed at building national and local capacities to reduce disaster risks.