Water footprint of Ghana with respect to some selected commodities and services

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The water footprint concept was developed in order to have an indicator of water use in relation to the consumption pattern of people. The water footprint of a country is defined as the volume of water needed for the production of the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the country. Due to the bulky nature of water, it is not in its raw state a tradable commodity though it could be traded through the exchange of goods and services from one point to the other. Closely linked to the water footprint concept is the virtual water concept. Virtual water can be defined as the volume of water required to produce a commodity or service. The international trade of these commodities entails flow of virtual water over large distances. The water footprint of a nation can therefore be assessed by quantifying the use of domestic water resources, taking out the virtual water flow that leaves the country and adding the virtual water flow that enters the country. This research focuses on the assessment and analysis of the water footprints of Ghana with respect to some selected commodities and services considering only the consumptive component of the water footprint. In addition to livestock, 13 crops were considered, 4 of which were cash crops. Data was analysed for the year 2001 to 2005. The estimated water footprint of Ghana was 24.84 billion m3/yr. The use of domestic water resources accounts for 22.65 billion m3/yr (91.2 %) of the estimated water footprint. And 2.19 billion m3/yr was from foreign water resources. The majority of the water that is consumed is embedded in food. Based on this the average water footprint of a Ghanaian was obtained as 1145 m3/cap/yr in respect of commodities and services considered.  
A thesis submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilemnet of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science. 2009