Water governance in rural communities of the Sekyere Central District of Ghana

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Water plays a pivotal role in sustainable development, including poverty reduction. The importance of governance for sustainable development has been recognised for some time but within the water and sanitation discipline, for a long time there was little recognition of its centrality. Experts (particularly the Global Water Partnership and the United Nations Development Programme) have agreed that water crisis in the developing world and a rural African community in particular, is a crisis of governance not necessarily a crisis of water scarcity. The introduction of governance into the water sector is an emerging concept particularly in the developing world. This has therefore raised a myriad of questions, which are of great importance to this special study. Some of the questions are: Who are the key actors in water governance at the local level and how effective they have been in playing their respective roles? What are the challenges of water governance at the local level? This study has investigated the extent to which water governance can be made effective in the Sekyere Central District of Ghana. To be precise, the specific objectives of the study include to; identify the key actors in water governance and how effective they have been in playing their respective roles at the local level and identify the challenges of water governance at the local level. The study was carried out in four rural communities in the Sekyere Central District of Ghana. Various institutions and bodies involved in water governance have also been investigated. iv The study revealed that there are various customs and beliefs that relate to access to and management of water resources and water facilities at the community level but they are not documented. All the communities recognized water as a God given resource and that every person has the right of access. The study revealed that about 74 percent of community members do not consider themselves and the government as partners committed to a shared vision of better water service provision. Again the analysis shows that majority (71%) of community members were not aware of water related laws in the country. As a recommendation, institutions involved in water governance need to intensify awareness campaigns on the policy changes and the legal framework governing access to and control of water resources and water facilities. Moreover, there is the need to evaluate, document, and promote the good traditional practices that relate to the access and management of water resources/facilities. In order to operate as a legal entity, it is suggested that the WATSAN Committees need to be assisted to develop their own policies, systems and procedures as well as rules and regulations. Finally, the study concludes that good governance and for that matter good water governance requires that all policy decisions are transparent so that communities can easily follow the steps taken in policy formulation.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PLANNING.