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Surface Water Division

 Dr. Frederick Amu-Mensah Dr. Barnabas A. Amisigo

Dr. Kwabena Kankam-Yeboah

(Chief Research Scientist/ Deputy

 Dr. Frederick Amu-Mensah

(Senior Research Scientist)

 Dr. Barnabas A. Amisigo

(Senior Research Scientist/Head of Division)

Dr. Emmanuel Obuobie Dr. Emmanuel O. Bekoe Mr. Fred Logah

Dr. Emmanuel Obuobie
(Senior Research Scientist)

Dr. Emmanuel O. Bekoe
(Senior Research Scientist)

Mr. Fred Logah
(Senior Research Scientist)




Ms. Debora Ofori



Ms. Debora Ofori
(Research Scientist)


The long-term objective of the Surface Water Division is to generate, develop and transfer appropriate technologies, information and services for sustainable development, utilization and management of surface water resources for socio-economic development.

The specific objectives include:

  • assessment of surface water resources of the country for socio-economic development;
  • assessment of sediment transport by streams/rivers and discharges into reservoirs for planning and management of water resources;
  • development and adaptation of appropriate technologies and water conservation techniques for water supply to households, communities, farms and industries; and
  • assessment of climate change effects and adaptation strategies.

Details on the research and development activities of the Division are presented in the following sections.



3.5.1  Water Infrastructure Solutions from Ecosystem Services Underpinning Climate Resilient Policies and Programmes (WISE-UP to Climate)

(Project Staff - Dr. Emmanuel Obuobie – Research Scientist, Dr. J. A. Ampofo – Principal Research Scientist, Dr. K. Kankam-Yeboah – Principal Research Scientist, Dr. E. Obeng-Bekoe – Senior Research Scientist, Dr. B. Amisigo – Senior Research Scientist, Ms. D. Ofori – Research Scientist, Mr. F. Logah – Research Scientist, Ms. S. Amponsah - PTO, Mr. G. Appiah - PTO, Mr. F. Oblim - PTO and Mr. C. K. Asante-Sasu – PTO)

The overarching objective of the study was to increase adaptive capacity in the Volta Basin through recognition and inclusion of ecosystem services provided by natural infrastructure in by Deal Top"> investment strategies for climate change adaptation and through optimization with built infrastructure planning and development. Collaborating agencies include International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), University of Nairobi (ACCES), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Manchester University (MoU) and Overseas Development Institute (ODI). It was initiated in 2013 and is expected to end in 2017.


Major activities undertaken in the reporting year included the gathering and reviewing of important documents on policies, by Deal Top"> investment plans, strategic plans, programmes and projects, monitoring and evaluation instruments, etc. of key national institutions in the water, energy, food and agriculture, and environment sectors of Ghana and Burkina Faso. Copies of the original documents as well as the review were made available to all the WISE-UP project partners, particularly the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which incorporated the review into a report of stakeholders’ analysis for the Volta Basin. Closely related to the review of policies, by Deal Top" style="z-index: 2147483647;"> investment plans, etc, a summary profile of all the key government institutions related to water, environment, energy, and agriculture was prepared in the reporting year to guide the project partners in determining the institutions to engage in the implementation of their thematic areas.


Two major stakeholder workshops were held in the reporting year. The first was held at Akosombo, Ghana, and the second at Malindi, Kenya. The workshops brought together a range of relevant actors, including representatives of government, universities, research centers, by Deal Top"> business and civil society to discuss issues around built and natural water infrastructure, ecosystem services, and climate change adaptation. Another workshop held at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region of Ghana engaged project stakeholders in the Northern and Upper East regions of Ghana. It was organized to introduce the project to the stakeholders and to solicit for their support in the implementation of the project in the Volta Basin as well as the implementation of project basin sites at Pwalugu (Upper East), Arigu and Bissigu (Northern) regions. In addition, several consultative engagements were held with selected key stakeholders such as WRC, GIDA, VRA and MoFA to discuss the selection of appropriate sites for instrumentation and detailed research.


Another major activity undertaken in the reporting year was the selection and establishment of project basin sites for collecting detailed biophysical and political economy data and information to inform modeling and other work at the basin scale. Processes used for selecting the sites included consultations with key project stakeholders (WRC, GIDA, VRA and MoFA), desk study including overlaying of maps describing the biophysical characteristics of the Volta Basin, field visits to potential sites, holding discussions with project partners and finally selecting three (3) sites with ecosystems that largely represent the Volta Basin. These sites were to be instrumented with hydrometeorological equipment. Other activities included provision of technical and logistical support to project implementing partners and participation in the WISE-UP annual planning meeting in Gland, Switzerland. The study, when completed, would increase adaptive capacity in the Volta Basin through recognition of ecosystem services for climate change adaptation.



3.5.2    Adaptive Management of Groundwater Resources for Small Scale Irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa (AMGRAF) – Catalyst Phase

(Project Staff: Dr. Emmanuel Obuobie – Research Scientist, Ms. Deborah Ofori – Research Scientist and Mr. Frank Oblim – PTO)

In collaboration with University of Newcastle (UK), International Water Management Institute (Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa) and Geological Survey of Ethiopia (Ethiopia), the study was carried out to address the needs of small-scale farmers who would benefit from sustainable development of shallow groundwater (< 25 m depth) for small-scale irrigation. Under a one year catalyst phase, the project was aimed at providing a comprehensive assessment of shallow groundwater irrigation in the Upper East Region, with the view to providing a good background to the preparation of a follow-on 4 year research study.


In the year under review, field visits were made to 15 shallow groundwater irrigation farms in the 13 districts of the Upper East Region to identify the major crops grown, observe farming practices including irrigation scheduling and quantities of water applied to crops. Group and individual interviews were conducted with shallow groundwater irrigators and managers of groundwater in the region to determine the current governance and management arrangements in place regarding groundwater and to identify gaps that could be researched on in a follow-up study. Coupled with secondary data, the data gathered from field visits were analyzed and a final technical report was prepared.


The study indicated that shallow groundwater irrigation (SGI) in the Upper East Region (UER) was mostly done in low-lying areas such as flood plains, alluvial channels and valley bottoms where the water table was high and as such, could easily be manually tapped using simple tools such as pick-axe, shovel, hoe, etc. Farmers identify suitable areas for irrigation based on indigenous knowledge and experience and extract the groundwater using seasonal (riverine) and permanent shallow well systems. The seasonal shallow wells were unlined and had depths ranging from 1 to 5 m depending on the level of the water table and technology used for lifting water. The permanent shallow well systems were developed closer to the farms and sometimes in the compounds of farming households. They had depths ranging from 1 to 14 m, depending on the level of the water table. These wells were used throughout the year for vegetable farming as well as domestic use and livestock watering.


Rainfall was the main source of recharge to the groundwater in the region. The recharge was highly variable both spatially and temporally and estimated to range widely from 1.4 to 29 % of the long term annual rainfall of about 990 mm. Most parts of the UER had high to moderate groundwater development potentials. Generally, areas underlain by Precambrian basement complex formation had higher groundwater potential than areas underlain by consolidated sedimentary formation. The quality of the groundwater was generally good in most parts of the region except for few areas in the north-western parts where high levels of fluoride, manganese and nitrate concentrations above the WHO recommended levels for potable water have been measured. However, the quality of groundwater is largely suitable for irrigation.


SGI is among the productive irrigation technologies in the UER. It could achieve good profit margins and have significant contribution to the economy although land areas cultivated were much smaller (on average < 0.5 hectares) compared to large reservoir irrigation farming. SGI provided employment for the youth and women, increased food security and improved livelihoods for households involved. However, SGI in the region was constrained by numerous challenges including lack of access to efficient drilling technology, low water tables in some areas and poor well development, relatively high cost of motor pumps and high operation and maintenance for pumps, low produce prices due to lack of storage facilities and limited marketing channels which allow for few buyers to bid the price down, limited extension services to help farmers adopt relevant agronomic and irrigation technologies, labour-intensive nature of some farm activities, poor access to credit facilities and high lending rates, lack of centralized effort by government to support, monitor and regulate the development of SGI, and land tenure issues. Meanwhile, in some places in the UER, these shallow wells form a dense network that could lead to groundwater over-exploitation, hence some form of regulations may be required to ensure sustainability of the groundwater system.


It was concluded from the study that SGI is an important source of livelihood which requires appropriate support and regulations to unlock its full potential. The practice is now recognized and captured in the current irrigation policy of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority. It was recommended that GIDA takes practical steps to assist in addressing the numerous bottlenecks constraining irrigators to enable them and the country maximize the benefits of groundwater irrigation.



3.5.3    Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures)

(Project Staff: Dr. Emmanuel Obuobie – Research Scientist, Dr. Kwabena Kankam-Yeboah – Principal Research Scientist, Ms. Deborah Ofori – Research Scientist and Mr. Frank Oblim – PTO)

The study seeks to quantify and characterize projected changes in groundwater demand in the Atankwidi-Anayere basins in the Upper East Region; and review groundwater governance structures in Ghana, identifying potential barriers to sustainable and pro-poor management policies. Collaborating agencies included University College London (UK), International Water Management Institute (South Africa), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Overseas Development Institute (UK), University of Sussex (UK), Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania) and IGRAC (Netherlands).


In the reporting period, field visits were undertaken to the study basins in the Upper East Region to collect additional primary and secondary data for refining calculations of present and future groundwater demands and withdrawals that had been estimated in the last quarter of 2013. Data collected include the volume of water used per household per day, proportional use of groundwater from boreholes for domestic and industrial purposes, monthly rainfall data, and groundwater level data. The data collected were analyzed and used to revise the previous estimates. Surveys were conducted in the study basins and regions in the form of interviews with groundwater irrigators as well as groundwater institutions and bodies (e.g., Water Resources Commission (WRC), Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and Water and Sanitation Committee) to obtain information on groundwater governance and management at the local basin level. The study when completed would establish scientific basis and tools to guide the management and sustainable use of groundwater to help meet increased agricultural, domestic and industrial water demands and to protect groundwater discharges that sustain vital ecosystem services.



3.5.4    ICT Tools for the Enhancement of Irrigation Efficiency in West Africa

(Project Staff: Dr. E. O. Bekoe – Senior Research Scientist, Mr. F. Y. Logah – Research Scientist, Dr. E. Obuobie – Research Scientist, Dr. K. Kankam-Yeboah – Principal Researhc Scientist, Ms. Deborah Ofori – Research Scientist and Mr. Frank Teye Oblim – Technical Officer)

The Institute, in collaboration with INKOA Systemas of Spain, NEIKER of Spain and WECARD/CORAF (Senegal) initiated the study in 2012 to:

  • develop and adjust a soil water balance model for determining irrigation requirements of crops such as rice and vegetables;
  • design, develop and implement a sensor network for monitoring environmental parameters;
  • design, develop, implement and test an ICT-based irrigation advisory service; and
  • build on target stakeholders’ capacities in irrigation and ICT technologies and foster replicability to other African regions through widespread dissemination of the project outcomes.

It is expected to end in 2016.


Activities undertaken during the reporting period included identification of data sources and collection of information for the model; selection of the pilot fields in Ghana; selection and adaptation of mathematical model for calculating reference evapotranspiration; adaptation of the model to the pilot fields of Ghana; design of the sensor network, particularly in the definition of the system requirements and in the selection of the environmental sensors; and validation of the soil-water balance model in the pilot fields of Ghana.


Pre-analysis of existing commercial sensors for environmental parameters such as solar radiation, water, soil, soil conductivity, etc. were undertaken and the sensors in Table 18 obtained for the measurement of parameters such as rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, soil moisture and water level. Climate stations (Figure 54) at Weija/Kokrobite, Kpong/Akuse, Akumadan and Bontanga in Greater Accra, Eastern, Ashanti and Northern regions were established. The water level sensor was installed only at Kpong to measuere water level in rice fields.


Table 18: Items obtained for environmental measurements

Item Code







Weather station iMETOS ag (includes solar power module, modem, antenna, etc.)

Temperature, relative humidity, radiation, rainfall, wind speed



Wind direction

Digital wind direction sensor



Crossarm for wind speed and wind direction



Mounting Post

contains 2 stainless steel posts length 1.5m



Module for soil moisture measurement



Echo Chain Interface for 2 decagon sensos & 2 watermarks & 1 soil temp. And 5m cable



Decagon 10HS Echo probes sensors



Soil moisture sensor type watermark



Soiltemperature for WM-BUS



Water level sensor (with an accuracy of +/-0,5% and a resolution of 1mm)



Water level sensor (+/- 3% accuracy)


iMetoas I

Direct connection of soil moisture and water level sensors to the iMETOS ag weather station (the distance between the sensor and the weather station is less than 100m)



pix1 pix2


Figure 54: Climate stations at Kpong/Akuse (left) and Bontanga (right)


Daily data collection for the above parameters were downloaded from , a website developed to process data from the climate stations to enable the FAO56 Penman-Montheith model to be used to study the water requirements of crops grown in the study sites. An example of a graphically displayed downloaded data is shown in Figure 55. In addition, to ensure maintenance of the climate stations, regular monthly monitoring visit to each site was undertaken.



Figure 55: Downloaded data from


Acquired pilot sites were also prepared to commence cultivation of rice for Kpong and Bontanga, and vegetables (pepper and tomatoes) for Weija and Akumadan, respectively, in order to run the FAO56 model. At each of the sites nearly 1ha in size, the plots were divided into 3 portions: the controlled area, the ‘no irrigation’ area and the farmer-practice area. The FAO56 model was applied at the controlled area whilst the farmer-practice area was used as a control. Water measuring structures (weirs) were constructed at Kpong and Bontanga to measure irrigation water quantity applied to the controlled farms during cultivation. Evapotranspiration amount at the sites were computed and advice given to the farmer cropping the controlled site as to when to irrigate. Farmer-practice was left to farmers to apply water as and when needed. The study when completed would enhance irrigation practices in West Africa and thus optimize water resources management and increase agricultural productivity.



3.5.5    Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) for Resilience to Climate Change Impact on Water Availability in Ghana (RWH4Ghana) – “Water Within Your Reach”

(Project Staff: Dr. B. A. Amisigo – Senior Research Scientist, Dr Fred Amu-Mensah – Senior Research Scientist, Ms. Deborah Ofori – Research Scientist, Dr Emmanuel Bekoe – Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Kwadwo Asante – Senior Research Scientist, Mr. Frederick Y. Logah – Research Scientist, Dr. Kwabena Kankam-Yeboah – Principal Research Scientist and Mrs. Regina Banu – Research Scientist)

The study was carried out in collaboration with SINTEF, Norway and the CSIR-STEPRI. The overarching goal of the study was to increase resilience to climate change impact on water availability by holistic (environmental, economic and social) sustainability assessment and implementation of appropriate rainwater harvesting (RWH) technology for small-scale application and business development in urban Ghana based on standardized design and implementation procedures. The specific objectives were to:

  • increase resilience to climate change impact on water availability in Ghana;
  • facilitate local business development;
  • improve urban livelihoods;
  • increase water availability in selected household and schools;
  • make affordable, appropriate and innovative RWH systems more available in Ghana; and
  • strengthen human and institutional capacities to implement RWH.


The approach of the study was a multidisciplinary research and development centered on assessment of different technical alternatives for small-scale RWH, and development of standardized design criteria for appropriate and innovative model RWH systems for households and schools; standardization and implementation of the model system in 20 households and 2 schools in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Assembly (GAMA); training of a corps of artisans in building the RWH systems and using as a basis for local business development; monitoring quantity, use and physical-chemical and microbial quality of harvested water; and stakeholder dialogue, evaluation and marketing of the model systems.


Activities carried out during the reporting period included installation of one (1) school RWH system and 19 out of 20 household standardized RWH systems at various stages of completion. Procurement of system components for the remaining households and school systems installations and water quality analyses for harvested water at the completed systems were undertaken. Three Steering Committee meetings, one stakeholder workshop and six classroom technical and business development training workshops for artisans engaged on the project were also undertaken. Practical training of artisans in the field during system installations continued throughout the year. A flyer on the standardized RWH systems was designed and a brochure on the RWH designs and installation was initiated as the year ended.


It was observed that beneficiaries using the completed RWH systems were very pleased with the performance of their systems. Analysis of the quality of water from the completed system showed that all harvested water from the systems in use were suitable for most domestic purposes including cooking. However, only the UV-treated water was found potable. The UV treatment was available for the advanced RWH systems only. In addition, artisans engaged on the project were prepared to register as a RWH business cluster in order to adopt the RWH technology as a viable business and help promote its widespread use in the country.


Recommendations from the study include:

  • A documentary should be produced on the RWH technology and the standardized systems designed at the CSIR for the promotion of the technology. The Technology for Livelihood Programme of the CSIR should be resourced to promote the technology.
  • The mass media should be actively engaged in the promotion of the RWH technology.
  • The MWRWH, MESTI, and MLGRD should jointly organise a stakeholder forum to fashion out and implement a policy for all public buildings in the country to have RWH systems installed.



3.5.6    Appraisal of Sediment Transport into the Weija Reservoir

(Project Staff: Ms. Deborah Ofori – Research Scientist, Mr. Fred Logah – Research Scientist, Dr. Barnabas Amissigo – Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Kwabena Kankam-Yeboah – Principal Research Scientist, Mr. F. Oblim – Technical Officer, Mr. C. Asante-Sasu – Principal Technical Officer and Mr. G. Appiah – Technical Officer)

The goal of the study was to provide a baseline for future assessments to measure the effectiveness of implemented best-management practices (BMPs)/integrated basin management strategies to mitigate sedimentation in the catchment area of the Weija reservoir. It would also inform decisions on planning and development activities of the water utility provider, GWCL. The specific objectives were to:

  • estimate the total sediment volume in the reservoir;
  • estimate the annual sediment deposition from the Densu River resulting from yields from the river basin/catchment area;
  • determine the occurrence and trends of deposition of the sediments and constituents; and
  • estimate the storage capacity needed to meet water demand on the reservoir.


The general scope of work included the collection and review of relevant literature, maps, engineering drawings and documentation of existing relevant literature on the Weija reservoir and the Densu River; perform bathymetric survey (and sediment coring to assess the sediment quality) on the Weija reservoir; sediment sampling and discharge measurement on the Densu River at Ashalaja in the Amasaman District; and perform demographic and water demand analyses and projections for 2015, 2025 and 2050 planning horizons and the water-storage capacity estimation for the Weija reservoir.


The mean annual suspended sediment yield (5,375 tonnes) and mean annual specific suspended sediment yield (2.00 tonnes/km2) from the study was relatively low compared to other river basins in Ghana. However, suspended sediment rating curve developed for the Densu River at Ashalaja suggested availability of sediment in the upper catchment of the monitoring point thus, indication of land degradation in parts of the basin. The relatively low annual mean suspend and annual mean specific suspended sediment yield compared to previous studies showed that the integrated water resources management (IWRM) interventions being implemented by the Water Resources Commission were effective in reducing the amount of sediment available for transport via the Densu River. However, sediment-laden runoff from the hilly areas and quarry sites near the reservoir may be a concern and likely be a significant proportion of the total sediment inflow into the reservoir. Considering the mean daily water inflow (767,123 m3/day) into the reservoir, except for the 2050 water demand (417,676,350 m3/yr), the study showed there is enough water resource to meet the 2015 (121,913,062 m3/yr) and 2025 (174,616,694 m3/yr) water demands. However, the current installed capacity of the water treatment plant is inadequate to supply the current water demand and that for future planning horizons.


It was recommended that the water treatment plant should be expanded to meet the current and future water demands. Also, the IWRM interventions being implemented in the basin be maintained and the Water Resource Commission, particularly the Densu River Basin Board, should be staffed adequately to ensure the implementation of its mandate.



3.5.7    Data Monitoring of WRI Hydro-Meteorological Station

(Project Staff: Dr. Kwabena Kankam-Yeboah – Principal Research Scientist, Collins Kissi Asante-Sasu – Principal Technical Officer, Mr. Gabriel Appiah – Senior Technical Officer and Mr. Frank Teye Oblim – Technical Officer)

The study was undertaken to obtain hydro-meteorological data that could describe the environmental conditions at any particular time and determine the water balance for purposes of research and weather forecasting in the Accra Metropolis. In the reporting year, hydro-meteorological data such as rainfall, temperature, evaporation, sunshine duration, relative humidity and wind speed were collected daily from the weather station at the CSIR Water Research Institute Head Office, Accra, located at co-ordinates 05o 35' 70.5" N and 00o 11' 10.5" W with an altitude of 45.72 m. The collected hydro-meteorological data was compiled and stored electronically.


The total annual rainfall for the year 2014 was 969.9 mm, recorded over a period of 74 rainy days. The amount of rainfall for the year exceeded that of 2013 (514.5 mm) by 455.4 mm, thus representing 47 % increment. The monthly maximum amount of rainfall (174.8 mm) was recorded in June 2014. The sum of the monthly average rainfall amount for the past 10-year period (2004-2013) was 752.9 mm. Its correspondence for 2014 was in excess of 217 mm, representing 22.4 % more in 2014 (Figure 56). Rainfall exceeded evapotranspiration from June 2014 through to September 2014 (Figure 57). The detailed hydro-meteorological data recorded at the station is shown in Table 19.



Figure 56: Total monthly rainfall for 2014 compared with 2013 and 10-year average (2004-2013)




Figure 57: Rainfall and evapotranspiration (2014)


Table 19: Hydro-meteorological data at the CSIR Water Research Institute station, Accra, during the year 2014















Rainfall  (2014) mm














Rain day














Rainfall (2013) mm














Rainfall (Average 2004 – 2013) mm














Evaporation (mm)

Evapotranspiration (mm)



























Temperature (°C)


Mean Temperature













Maximum Temperature













Minimum Temperature













Windrun (Knots)














Sunshine (Hours)














Relative Humidity (%)














NR: No data recorded