Water Resources Protection at the Upper Densu River Basin, Ghana: Can Rural Communities Adapt to the Ban on Galamsey?

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Water Resources, Galamsey, Rural Communities, Densu River, Ghana


Water resources protection is complicated as it involves controlling and managing multiple sources of pollution that are the result of a complex socioeconomic and political systems. The use of a national task force to crack-down on or ban illegal mining activities to protect the nation’s water resources initiated by the new administration that assumed office in January 2017 has attracted a lot of media attention. This paper examines the perceived environmental and socioeconomic impacts on four rural catchment communities in the upper Densu River basin, Ghana. Using mixed methods approach including interviews, household survey, and review of policy and regulatory documents and newspapers, the paper analyses the environmental benefits, socioeconomic challenges, and sustainability of the ban on illegal mining in protecting the Densu River. The observed and perceived impacts of the ban on illegal mining indicates improved water quality, vegetation cover, and school attendance, but increased hardships in the communities. We conclude that the ban though a necessary first step it is not enough and sustainable in protecting the Densu River without a comprehensive strategy that addresses both environmental and socioeconomic concerns of the rural catchment communities.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Presented at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting on April 11, 2018 in New Orleans, LA