Mapping irrigation potential in the Upper East Region of Ghana

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The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy of 2003 mentions the Upper East Region together with the other two regions in Northern Ghana (Upper West and Northern Region) as locus of perennial food deficit. Despite, the provision of over 200 small scale dams and various mechanisms calculated toward poverty alleviation, the region is still plagued with poverty and yearly food shortages. To achieve food security and alleviate poverty in the region however, modernization of agriculture through irrigation is deemed inevitable. While it is true that considerable potential still exists for future expansion of irrigation, it is also true that water is becoming scarcer in the regions where the need for irrigation is most important, hence mapping the irrigation potential of the region will be the first step toward ensuring sound planning and sustainability of the irrigation developments. In this study, an attempt has been made to map out the irrigation potential of the Upper East Region. The river basin approach was used in assessing the irrigation potential. The catchments drained by The White Volta River, Red Volta River, Sissili River and Kulpawn River were considered in the assessment. The irrigation potential for the sub basins were computed by combining information on gross irrigation water requirements, area of soil suitable for irrigation and available water resources. The capacity of 80%, 70%, 60% and 50% time of exceedance flow of the available surface water resources in the respective sub basins were estimated. The area that can be irrigated with this flow was computed with selected cropping pattern. Combining the land suitability map and the land use map of the respective subcatchments, an, irrigation potential map has been generated showing potential sites in the upper east region that can be brought under surface irrigation in the respective subcatchments. The total area that can be irrigated using the flow at 80% and 50% dependability are over 1000 ha and 20000 ha respectively. The results of this study provide a base for the formulation of strategies for irrigation development and also give a bench mark for monitoring progress within the irrigation sector. Keywords: Irrigation potential, irrigation water requirement, land evaluation, dependable flow
This Thesis is submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements of the School of Graduate Studies of KNUST for the Degree of Master of Science in Water Resources Engineering and Management.