The project seeks to build six sand dams in the Upper East Region of Ghana. 80% of the population in this region are into agriculture, however the low rainfall in the region due to climate change, the natural vegetation, topography of the land and also the soil type have together currently made agriculture a very difficult occupation in the region. Hence the youth are abandoning farming and migrating into cities to seek for greener pastures (Ministry of Food & Agriculture, 2010), thereby adding to the already existing pressure and economic hardship in the cities.
The project seeks to build Sand Dams which are reinforced concrete wall built in a seasonal riverbed to capture and store water beneath sand, both filtering and protecting it. Feasibility studies and technical consultation will be carried out to locate six potential sand dam sites in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Upon approval by the project technical team these dams will be constructed with the involvement of the local communities, to create a sense of ownership among the communities involved in the construction of the dams.
The sand dams will capture about 2-10 million liters of water from rain water and other existing water bodies (Excellent Development, 2011) so that when the rain stops falling or the surface water of the water body dries, the sand dam will still hold water in the depths of the sand behind the concrete walls.
The water will help farmers grow crops all year round and have more litters of water available for domestic use. The project will also start a tree nursery and planting project to plant trees in the communities. Sand dams have also been known to gradually and naturally transform the ecology of the areas where they are constructed (RAIN, 2007) this with the farming and tree planting will help the citizens in the region adapt to the current impacts of climate change that they face. Trees planted will help sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere providing some Climate Change mitigation benefits (Powlson et al., 2011).
By re-charging the aquifer, sand dams provide enough water to establish tree and vegetable nurseries. The construction of the Sand Dam together, with the tree nursery and planting will form a cycle of water and soil conservation that is self-perpetuating. Conserving water and soil on farms increases soil fertility, reduces the time spent collecting water, and increases the time available to farm. Sand dams provide the water and time necessary for people to productively farm. All year-round water source saves time and enables farmers to invest in improved agricultural techniques (Excellent Development, 2011).
Feasibility studies will be carried out by the project technical team to select six catchments within the Upper East region of Ghana that are best suited for building the sand dams. The beneficiary communities will be intensively involved in the sand dam projects in order to create a feeling of ownership by the communities. In construction of the sand dam, the contribution of community workers will help reduce costs (RAIN, 2007). Availability of local materials like stones and sand will reduce further costs of materials and transport. The communities members will be trained by the project technical team on how to operate manage and maintain the sand dam to ensure sustainability.