HAP Projects

Hydrogeological Assessment of the Northern Region of Ghana Project (HAP)

Project focus area: Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions
Funding: CIDA with a total funding of CAD$ 5.5 million (approx) Duration: Oct. 2005 – Dec. 2011
CIDA Project No: SEL2003-A31901. Implementing Agency: Water Resources Commission (Ghana) and SNC-Lavalin/INRS (Canada) 

Project Goal and Objectives

The Project Goal is to improve groundwater resources management and development in the north of Ghana. The Project Purpose is to improve the knowledge base and understanding of the hydrogeological setting in the north of Ghana and to contribute to the capacity development primarily, of the personnel of the WRC and its partner institutions in technical and institutional aspects of groundwater planning and development. 

Targeted project outputs Increased access, by Ghanaian water sector institutions and other relevant agencies to accurate groundwater resources information/data for the north of Ghana enhance technical and institutional capacity of Ghanaian water sector institutions in the collaborative management of groundwater resources, integrating the use of gender analytical tools for analyzing planning data.


Understanding of regional hydrogeology is essential for the sustainable development of groundwater resources. This is particularly true for semi-arid areas such as the northern Ghana. Access to reliable water supply is an important component of the poverty reduction program in Ghana.

To this end, significant investments by the Government of Ghana and its donor partners have been dedicated to water well drilling projects, especially in northern Ghana. The nature and complexity of geological and hydrogeological conditions in northern Ghana however, are partly responsible for the apparently low drilling success rate (below 50% in most areas) and the high variability of well yields. In some cases limited knowledge of groundwater occurrence and/or accessibility to existing hydrogeological data could also have been an important constraint to selecting well drilling sites.

In this context, the Hydrogeological Assessment Project (HAP) was initiated to provide scientific background for groundwater development projects as well as resources management through the collection and analysis of scientific data on groundwater with the long-term objective of improving groundwater resources management and development in the three northern regions of Ghana.

The project, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is being implemented by SNC-Lavalin and Institut National de Recherche Scientifique (INRS), in a joint venture, in conjunction with the Water Resources Commission (WRC) of Ghana.

The project has been implemented through inventorying, collection, validation and synthesis of existing hydrogeological information. Data from six electronic databases were validated and consolidated in one database to serve as a basis for future hydrogeological projects as well as HAP downstream activities.

Field data were collected through the construction of 27 new monitoring wells (boreholes) that supplemented the existing network of 13 monitoring wells installed with funding support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Results to date include a hydro-stratigraphical conceptual model and an evaluation of groundwater recharge through soil moisture balance and chloride mass balance.


Some major accomplishments are as follows;

  • The perceived hopelessness situation regarding probability of striking successful groundwater source points e.g. boreholes is giving way for some optimism regarding borehole drilling success rate; i.e. success rate stands at 80% according to field data generated under the project,
  • Field data analysed indicates drilling depths should be extended to depths ranging between 100 and 150 meters if water does not show up at depths up to 60 meters and formation penetration rate does not indicate refusal,
  • Borehole yields have shown some improvement contrary to existing knowledge that boreholes yields in the north are marginal in nature and only sufficient to support handpump operations; boreholes yields fall in the range from 100litres/min to 600litres/min from data generated under the project,
  • The base of a national hydrogeological database has been established to be up-scaled to cover the entire country in due course and given the needed resources,
  • Groundwater monitoring infrastructure has been established involving 37 monitoring stations fitted with field recording equipment to monitor groundwater levels and quality in the north,
  • Estimated recharge over the northern regions for the period 2000-2005 falls in the range 2-16% of average annual rainfall, 
  • Annual Recharge estimated indicates that less that 2% of recharge from rainfall is being abstracted annually; incidence of over-abstraction may occur in some localized areas though,
  • Natural groundwater is generally of good quality (microbiological and physico-chemical),
  • Certain natural chemical components do not meet WHO quality standards in some locations however, particularly for Fe, Mn, F, and Cl,
  • Quality deterioration due to human activities in certain locations resulted in high NO2 and NO3.

This entry was posted on February 5, 2013