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Water-Energy-Food Nexus – Multi-Purpose Dam in Ghana (2024-2025)

Proposed Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam (PMDP): Implications on water resource management and socio-ecological impacts of agriculture communities in the White Volta River Basin, Ghana.

The PMDP is a comprehensive hydro-project integrating irrigation, flood control, power generation, fishery farming and urban & rural water supply in the Volta basin in Ghana. This study examines the planning and execution of PMDP, shifting the focus from the traditional emphasis on economic and technical feasibility to a more holistic Water-Energy-Food (W-E-F) nexus approach. It critiques the predominant trend in multipurpose dam discussions, which have primarily highlighted benefits in energy, food, and water provision, while often overlooking socio-ecological impacts and human rights concerns. The case in point is a dam (Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam) project, lauded by the President of Ghana in November 2019 for its potential in water security and irrigation. However, this acclaim neglected the dam's socio-ecological consequences. The research emphasizes the necessity of integrating grassroot perspectives into the W-E-F nexus, and advocates for the inclusion of environmental flows to sustain ecosystems, especially under changing hydroclimatic conditions. To address these gaps, the study employs Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) tool with its loosely coupled Agent Based Model (ABM) to assess the dam's impact on water resource allocation under various socioecological scenarios, considering feedbacks, interactions, and adaptations in water and land use. The study with its WEF perspective aims at providing a decision support system by moving water issues to the foreground for policy makers, practitioners and communities in a holistic manner.

Figure 1: Map of study area showing proposed dam and other key features