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Making water infrastructure investment decisions in a changing climate: Ghana

Research report

Written by Beatrice Mosello

Research report

In many developing countries, investments to harness water resources for development have tended to focus on built infrastructure such as large dams for irrigation and hydro-electric power production. Who truly benefits from these investments, and who pays their costs, however, remains unclear. Also unclear is the extent to which the health of ecosystems, and the services they provide to people and the environment, is considered.

The Water Infrastructure Solutions from Ecosystem Services Underpinning Climate Resilient Policies and Programmes (WISE-UP) project aims to demonstrate how natural infrastructure can be combined with built infrastructure in balanced and optimal investment portfolios to deliver economic and social development, while ensuring that people and the environment adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

Under the WISE-UP project, we conducted a political economy analysis to explore the contexts within which decisions about river basin development are made in Ghana and Kenya. Our goal was to understand the bottlenecks to introducing natural infrastructure solutions in water management and development strategies, and to identify solutions to address them. This report outlines the findings for Ghana, where we focused on the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam (PMD), an infrastructure project proposed to meet the economic and development needs of Northern Ghana. While, to date, a decision on the realisation of the PMD has not been officially made, we examined the drivers and constraints underpinning the decision-making process over its construction and and operation. Our methodology consisted of interviews with key respondents in government, donor organisations and civil society at the national and local levels.

Also available is a briefing note summarising the key findings of the research.

Beatrice Mosello, Ronald Adamtey and Emmanuel Obuobie