Participatory GIS for inland water cadastre: case of Densuano, Koforidua, Ghana

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May 2016
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Water bodies in Ghana are utilized for various purposes including drinking, irrigation, transportation and hydropower generation just to mention a few. Stakeholders who utilize these water bodies for different activities hold diverse rights and relating interests seen in the form of responsibilities, restrictions and privileges. In Ghana, one major challenge that threatens management and administration of these rights is the absence of a complete and comprehensive information system that records the spatial extents and terms on use rights for stakeholders who hold both statutory and customary water rights. This study aims at exploring participatory GIS tools to capture and record the various interests related to inland water resources in Ghana and to develop a prototype information system that facilitates the visualization and analysis of the identified interests. Participatory sketch mapping, interviews and focus group discussions were used to capture and record indigenous knowledge on water rights. Two participatory mapping exercises were conducted; for stakeholders at Densuano in Koforidua, a community in the Densu River Basin. The mapping exercise engaged stakeholders upstream and the other for stakeholders at the downstream portion of the water resource. A GPS survey of selected points was used to validate the accuracy of the mapping exercise. ArcGIS and Map Guide Maestro were used to develop a prototype cadastral system for the resource. The study shows that the local community members have rich knowledge in water rights. The stakeholders were able to use the participatory mapping tools after a short training and the maps produced through the participatory exercise shows that the stakeholders have varying use rights on water. Participatory mapping ensured maximum community participation and involvement, urging the various stakeholders to identify and come to a consensus on the various physical boundaries associated to particular rights and underlining responsibilities, privileges, and restrictions. The prototype created provides a good interface for visualizing the physical extent of varying customary and statutory rights and the restrictions on water usage. The interface provides users the opportunity to conduct spatial analysis and therefore can aid in the management and administration of water at Densuano.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Geomatic Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Geomatic Engineering, College of Engineering,