Climate change (CC) is already occurring in West Africa and bringing significant new risks. The most recent decades have experienced a warming trend independent of precipitation behavior and increased variability at all-time scales. Alternate years of drought and abundant rains have been witnessed, as well as recurrence of dry spells and heavy rain events within a year. This is consistent with expected changes in the character of precipitation for tropical and subtropical regions resulting in urban and rural water scarcity, food shortages and socio-economic damages.

Anthropogenic activities (e.g. mining and logging) have seriously degraded the landscapes of many river basins in Ghana, resulting in flow reduction, soil erosion, flooding, and pollution of water bodies, with negative consequences for dependent ecosystems. The pollution of rivers has shifted significant water demands to groundwater resources, which is presently not well characterized and understood in many areas. In addition, dynamically changing hydrology under CC makes it difficult for policy makers, managers and stakeholders to obtain robust information on water resources that will reliably inform decisions and consensus on water investment needs.

“Building Climate Resilience into Basin Water Management” (CREAM) is a five-year project funded by DANIDA with the overall goal to increase river basin resilience in two river basins in Ghana against Climate Change challenges to water infrastructure, livelihood, water-food-energy security, and environmental conservation.

CREAM is implemented in the two river basins: the Pra (23,200 km2, 6.2 million people) and Densu (2,600 km2, 2.5 million people). Both river basins are of high economic importance to Ghana. The Densu and Pra rivers are the main sources of domestic water supply for major cities such as Koforidua (1.7 million people) and Accra (40% of a population of 3.2 million) and contribute substantially to the livelihoods of basin dwellers via mining, irrigated agriculture, bottled water production and other industrial activities.

Currently, both the Pra and Densu basins are faced with numerous water resource management (WRM) challenges. In addition to small scale mining and deforestation problems, improper disposal of waste into rivers has resulted in deterioration of the quality of water in the two rivers, with significant shift in water demands from surface water to groundwater. Both land degradation and water pollution have negatively affected the ecosystems of the two basins and consequently the benefits of services derived from them. Climate Change and future socio-economic developments are likely to exacerbate the WRM challenges in the two basins by aggravating the already water stressed situation and deepening the uncertainties around the resource management. An integration of CC and socio-economic developments into the WRM plans of the two basins are therefore required to develop more resilient WRM plans.
The project is expected to contribute significantly to i) increased resilience of the study river basins, with improved capacity to absorb shocks and challenges posed by climate change; ii) increased understanding among stakeholders of the complexity and interconnectedness of water-related challenges and benefits; and iii) improved governance and water management decision-making, with participation and acceptance from most stakeholders.

The project is organized into the following work packages:
WP0 - Project management/dissemination
WP1 - Climate Analysis – analyses and downscales the climatology and trends in extreme climate events in the study basins
WP2 - Hydrology - simulates the surface water and groundwater resources of the study basins including the simulation of water quality and sediment fluxes in rivers
WP3 - Ecology and valuation of ecosystem services – develops an ecological-economic-social integrated framework for mapping and quantifying ecosystem services and their welfare economic and socio-cultural importance
WP4 - System modelling – develops a decision support tool to inform stakeholder-based WRM decision-making based on a water resource system model and model for usage trade offs
WP5 - Integrated Governance - focuses on policy design and policy implementation to analyse barriers and opportunities for effective WRM and CC adaptation governance
WP6 - Capacity development - builds competences and capacities of researchers and stakeholders i.a. through 6 PhD students enrolled in Ghana and spending research time in Denmark and Australia

Effektiv start/slut dato01/03/201928/02/2025


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