White Volta

The Commission established the White Volta Basin Board (WVBB) in Bolgatanga, in July 2006 to manage the portion of the basin that falls mainly within the Upper East Region of Ghana. This Basin Board was set up to assess and initiate trans boundary activities at the community level and has a consultative and advisory role as it relates to the management of the the White Volta Basin's water resources.

The Board represents a wide sphere of interest groups within the Basin, including the traditional authorities.  


The WVBB membership combines the following: 

  1. A chairperson appointed by the WRC,
  2. A representative of the WRC,
  3. One person representing each of the following within the basin.
  • West Mamprusi District Assembly
  • Kasenna-Nankana District Assembly
  • Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly
  • Talensi-Nabdam District Assembly
  • Bongo District Assembly
  • Bawku Municipal Assembly
  • Garu-Tempani District Assembly
  • Bawku West District Assembly
  • Upper East Regional Coordinating Council
  • Ministry of Food and Agriculture
  • Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Community Water and Sanitation Agency
  • Savannah Agricultural Research Institute
  • Upper East Regional House of Chiefs
  • Non-Governmental Organisations 


Water Resources

The White Volta River Basin is one of the four main sub-basins of the Volta River system and spans Togo, Burkina Faso and Ghana. The White Volta River contributes on an annual basis in average some 20% of the inflow to the Volta Lake, and hence, is an important element of the hydropower generation at Akosombo Dam and Kpong power stations in the lower Volta River system. The White Volta River Basin in Ghana is located between latitudes 8°50'N - 11°05'N and longitudes 0°06'E - 2°50'W. The drainage area within Ghana is about 50,000 km2 covering 20% of Ghana's total land area, and constitutes about 44% of the total area of the White Volta River Basin. The White Volta River and its main tributaries in the northern part, the Red Volta (Nazinon) and the Kulpawn/Sissili rivers, take their sources in the central and north-eastern portions of Burkina Faso.

Land use patterns

The White Volta River Basin spans 3 administrative regions, i.e. all of the Upper East Region (UER), 70% of the Upper West Region (UWR) and about 50% of the Northern Region (NR). A total of 29 districts are represented within the basin. The water resources of the White Volta River Basin contribute substantially to the economic livelihood of the people living in the basin. Water is used for a variety of purposes in the domestic, agriculture and industrial sectors. Agriculture (including animal husbandry), fishery, hunting and forestry together constitute the main economic activity in the basin, particularly in the rural areas and provide occupation and employment for a vast majority of the people. Large and medium scale irrigation systems in the White Volta Basin can be found in the Tono (Kasina-Nankana District), Vea (Bongo District) and Bontanga (Tolon-Kumbungu District) localities. There are also a number of small scale irrigation systems based on small dams, ponds and dug-outs in the basin. Another means of small scale irrigation farming.

Water Resources Management Challenges

Agricultural activities are practiced both commercially and as subsistence farming. Improper farming practices such as slash and burn, and bush burning, are common practices. These result in further degradation of both the land and water resources of the basin. The cultivation of crops along river banks is also undertaken in many sections of the White Volta River, resulting in the removal of the top soil and increasing the risk of siltation in the river through upland erosion and subsequent transport of sediment into the open water courses.


Under the Project for the Improvement of Water Governance in the Volta Basin (PAGEV) various activities have also been undertaken in collaboration with the counterparts from Burkina Faso, such as -

Facilitating the reduction in farming activities along the river banks through rehabilitation of a broken dam to create an alternative water source for irrigation;

Holding sensitization, capacity building and planning meetings with technical service providers (forestry, agriculture and planners) and communities;

Holding trans-boundary (Ghana-Burkina Faso) joint community fora on river bank protection interventions;

Establishment of a Ghana-Burkina Faso local trans-boundary committee on the management of the White Volta River Basin and adoption of code of conduct/operational guidelines for this committee; and

Water quality monitoring of selected locations in Burkina Faso and Ghana.