Water resource management has grown in importance in global development discussions over the years. Humans and all other living things require water to survive. It has numerous applications. It is used for a variety of purposes, including industrial, household, and irrigation, and it provides numerous benefits to society (FAO, 2009). Because of its numerous occurrences, management, and uses, water is a critical component of human development and a cross-cutting concern in modern development objectives driving worldwide efforts to achieve sustainable development goals.

This is reflected in SDG six (6), which aims to guarantee universal access to and sustainable management of water and sanitation. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WECD) (1987) defines sustainable development as

Development that aims to meet current needs and ambitions without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to meet their own is defined as sustainable development. Water resource protection and enhancement are critical for improving hygiene and sanitation standards, which have an impact on people’s ability to work productively. Furthermore, an efficient and dependable sanitation and water supply system is critical for reducing morbidity and mortality and avoiding vector and water-borne illnesses (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2009).

Water’s importance in sustaining life has been recognized for decades. As natural resource guardians and as a result of centuries of experience, indigenous peoples have amassed a vast body of knowledge for the sustainable use and management of natural resources such as rivers and streams.

experimentation. To ensure the continuation of this knowledge and the long-term use of these resources, rules and belief systems that formed parts of their customary laws were used (Gadgil, 2005). Indigenous peoples had a comprehensive understanding of how to manage plants, animals, and natural occurrences in ecosystems and their environments. When colonialism, technology, and population growth took over their lands and territories, a process of resource looting and deprivation began (Henrik, 1996).

The advent of statutory laws marginalized these customary laws that governed the application of their expertise to the management of natural resources within their territory (Opoku-Ankomah, Amposah& Some, 2006). The situation deteriorated with the arrival of the age of economic development, which was vigorously pushed by private enterprises.

throughout the decades. As a result, various efforts at conferences have contributed to the advancement of water policy issues over the years. Such initiatives include the Lake Success Conference on Resource Conservation and Utilization in 1949, the Mar Del Plata Conference in 1977, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, the International Conference on Water and Environment in Dublin in 1992, which developed the Dublin Principles, and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The International Conference on Freshwater in Bonn in 2001; the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002; and the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth World Water Forums in Kyoto, Mexico, Istanbul, Marseille, and Daegu-Gyeongbuk in 2001, 2002, and 2003, respectively.

Recent conferences include those held in 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012, 2015, to name a few. These conferences, summits, and forums resulted in the development of an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) strategy and other water resource management concepts. These concepts and ideas have been accepted by the international community as important tools for managing global water resources.

There are numerous water resources in Africa. Examples include Lake Victoria, the Niger River, and the Volta River. Fresh water availability is critical to Africa’s growth. Nonetheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) (2014) reported that Africa accounted for more than 40% of all people without access to safe drinking water, with 300,000 people deprived of clean water sources due to inefficient sanitation systems.

Water resource management is the management of water resources. According to Freitas (2013), increasing pressure on Africa’s water resources could lead to internal instability, exacerbate existing inter-state tensions, and even serve as a source of armed conflict.

Water contamination may occur if water sources, such as river basins, are not adequately managed, according to Prüss-Üstün, Bos, Gore, and Bartram (2008). According to Prüss-Üstün et al., unsafe and contaminated water use in Africa could lead to typhoid, dysentery, and other illnesses. Aside from the impact on health, Prüss-Üstün et al. (2008) noted that the loss of production caused by water-related diseases stifles the continent’s growth. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), population growth in many African countries is high each year, averaging 2.5 percent across Sub-Saharan Africa, but there is a lack of resources to support this growth.

Safe drinking water and sanitation slowed economic growth by a factor of two.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (2014), achieving sustainable development and efficient water management in Africa required representative participation from all those who stand to benefit or suffer, as well as consideration of water timing, quality, and biodiversity. Mondello (2006) also advocated for the implementation of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and other solid policies in the future to ensure the sustainability and efficiency of water usage. This was to be accomplished by following the steps outlined below: establishing multilateral river basin management authorities for more than half of Africa’s 88 trans-boundary rivers and lakes; developing national plans for wetlands management and wise use; and conserving 50 million hectares of forest

Freshwater wetlands to help local people make a living.

As a result, several African countries have implemented water sector reforms. The Okavango Basin Management Board, established in Botswana, Namibia, and Angola to address trans-boundary water issues, and the Nyando Basin Management Board, established in Kenya, are two examples. Biswas (2008), on the other hand, claims that the implementation of formal policies such as the IWRM plan and other principles has not completely eliminated problems associated with water resource management in Africa.

Ghana has an abundance of water resources, including the Volta, Densu, Pra, Tano, and Ankobra rivers. Ghana adopted formal water policies that influenced new policies and legislation, such as the Water Resources Commission (WRC) Act 522 of 1996 for river basin plans, which was followed by the River Basin Development Act of 1997.

the National Water Policy of June 2007, in which all stakeholders were expected to be involved in river basin management in Ghana. According to WRC (2012), the decentralized implementation of the IWRM in selected river basins was required due to factors such as farming activities along river banks encroaching on water shed zones; water shortages in an otherwise perennial river system caused by an accelerating increase in irrigation demand; and the construction of numerous smaller dams and dug-outs in the uplands (WRC, 2012).

The IWRM was also deemed necessary for managing Ghana’s freshwater resources. Many IWRM frameworks have been developed in Ghana for specific basins. IWRM plans, for example, for the Densu River Basin, were completed in

The White Volta, Ankobra, Pra, and Tano River Basins followed in 2007. However, as Biswas (2008) contends, the implementation of these formal regulations in Ghana’s water management has not completely addressed the country’s water management issues (Millar, 2005). It was hoped that if formal organizations charged with managing water resources followed these principles, a solution could be found. Nonetheless, pollution and biodiversity loss continue to rise even under the supervision of these official organizations (Bonye, 2008).

Indigenous peoples continue to emphasize and practice their own way of life and worldviews on a razor’s edge. According to Opoku-Ankomah et al., rural communities in Ghana’s Volta basin, for example, used adaptable institutional frameworks to conserve natural resources, including taboos and other cultural practices. al. (2006). (2006). Indigenous knowledge is gaining popularity as a tool that the global community can use to address current and future food and health security concerns (Reed, 1997). Similarly, there is a growing recognition of the critical role that indigenous knowledge and customary rules may play in ensuring the health of the planet (Boelens, Chiba, & Nakashima, 2006). For example, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Convention on Biodiversity recognize the importance of indigenous knowledge in development and conservation agendas (CBD). According to Henrik (1996), current inadequate natural resource management is the result of invasive state policies that allegedly interfered too much on the local scene and harmed traditional institutions’ ability to regulate resource usage.


The Tano Basin is a significant river basin in Ghana’s southern river system. It runs through the BrongAhafo, Ashanti, and Western Regions and serves a variety of socioeconomic functions, including providing one of the most reliable sources of water for household, industrial, and agricultural use in the BrongAhafo Region and other areas it passes through. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted in a 2011 study on water resources in the BrongAhafo Region that water quality was excellent, but that activities such as poor agricultural practices could have an impact on water resources if not managed properly. The IWRM plan was created in 2012 in response to competing water demands, with the goal of encouraging broad stakeholder participation in order to foster compromise and cooperation.

fair access.

The Water Resource Commission’s Tano basin study in 2014 confirmed that human activities along the Tano river were putting the Tano Basin in jeopardy, which could have consequences for the lives of many who rely on it for a living. According to a 2014 Water Resource Commission assessment, illegal and legal gold and other mineral mining, as well as clay and sand mining, are major concerns affecting the Tano Basin. Farming and tree cutting in the buffer zone, as well as human-made structures, were identified as basin-impacting activities. Inadequate water to meet demand for household, commercial, agricultural, and industrial uses has been mentioned as a possible outcome if steps to reduce demand are not taken. Such activities are not carried out. Nonetheless, Haverkort, Van’t Hooft, and Hiemstra (2003) proposed the Endogenous Development method, which proposed that using local resources, such as human resources, leadership, and institutions, could be effective tools for addressing development issues. As a result, the purpose of this research was to determine how indigenous knowledge is applied to water resource management in the upper Tano river basin.


The primary goal of this research is to investigate indigenous water resource management knowledge in Ghana’s upper Tano River Basin, which leads to the following objectives:

1. Describe the various types of indigenous knowledge used in water resource management.

2. Investigate the indigenous practices that existed in the communities for the management of water resources.

4. Describe the challenges that indigenous institutions face when attempting to use indigenous knowledge to manage water resources in their communities.

3. Make appropriate recommendations on the need for indigenous knowledge to be incorporated into basin management policies.


This research is guided by the following questions:

1. What types of indigenous knowledge are used in water resource management?

2. What indigenous practices existed in the communities for the management of water resources?

4. What are the challenges that indigenous institutions face when using indigenous knowledge to manage community water resources?

3. What are the best recommendations for incorporating indigenous knowledge into basin management policies?


Poor water resource management has resulted in a number of issues concerning health, socioeconomic development, and environmental management, all of which must be addressed (Dungumaro & Madulu, 2003). This research will raise awareness about the problem of poor water management and its consequences for health and other sectors of the economy. It will enable the government and individuals to take appropriate steps toward better water management not only in the Tano River Basin but also in other areas. This study will also be significant because it will generate more materials for other scholars or researchers who want to further the subject or approach the study from a different angle.


The research looked at the various forms of indigenous values and knowledge, as well as how they fit into water and related resource management policies and laws. It was limited to riparian communities along the upper Tano River in Ghana’s BrongAhafo Region. The purpose of this study was to describe community norms and practices, as well as how these practices affect water resource management in the upper Tano basin.


This research will focus on the riparian communities along the upper Tano River in Ghana’s BrongAhafo Region. The study’s findings will be limited to this region; however, the recommendations and findings may be applicable to other regions in terms of proper water resource management.


1. WATER RESOURCE: Water resources are natural water resources that have the potential to be used as a source of water supply.

2. MANAGEMENT: the process of directing or controlling things or people. In this case, it refers to the management of people’s actions in relation to water resources.


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