Ghana’s socio-economic development, since independence, has been driven by the Akosombo and Kpong dams that provide water (for domestic, agriculture and industrial use) and hydroelectricity. It was hoped that with these past experiences, the Ghana government would be in a better position to manage the livelihood issues of the newly built Bui hydroelectricity dam better. Using a modified political ecology framework, this study examined the implications of the Bui dam project on the livelihoods of the downstream communities, which have received limited scholarly attention. Results from 158 household questionnaire interviews, corroborated by in-depth interviews with relevant stakeholders and focus group discussions indicate a complete lack of compensation package of any form for affected downstream communities. Fishing and farming, the dominant livelihood strategies of the households interviewed, have become unproductive and unsustainable leading to reduced incomes. Additionally, the unregulated activities of small-scale gold miners (galamsey) in the river bed which were made possible after the Bui dam’s construction were cited by most interviewees and focus group discussants for its negative impacts on human and ecological health. In a nutshell, existing livelihoods systems of downstream non-resettled communities post the Bui dam construction have been severely disrupted. Addressing the present challenges facing downstream communities in an integrative and participatory manner should be the top priority of the dam planners and implementers especially the Bui Power Authority and the District Assemblies.
Sustainability Science – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2018
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