The joint project RAIN from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) program CLIENT II is about flood prevention and rainwater utilisation in Ghana. It aims for an innovative holistic concept, which includes technical climate change adaption as well as capacity building. In the beginning of November 2019 a delegation of twelve experts from the different German project partners travelled to Ghana to meet the Ghanaian partners in person, to develop a joint process and to decide on where and how to start the practical experiments.
Ghana, which is located in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, is characterized by two rainy seasons and drought periods. Whereas the northern parts suffer from serious dryness, the south struggles with floods and water reservoir pollution during the rainy seasons. At this point the joint research project RAIN ties in with the common problems of flooding as well as dryness and aims to find innovative solutions such as intelligent water management concepts, early warning systems and water treatment with local resources.
Next to getting to know each other and the institutes possibilities and facilities, the main goal was to identify a suitable region for the pilot plants. Therefore several arrangements were made by both academic partners, the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS) from the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The German Client group visited some sites close to Accra in the Adenta district as well as some sites close to Kumasi on university owned land. Both areas were interesting in different aspects such as different kinds of local plantation and irrigation methods and water reservoirs. Water samples were taken to approve if the ponds are suitable for testing the different foreseen water treatment methods. Since the proper analysis of water samples is a challenge, the German partners are glad to have Envaserv as one of their local partners, due to the fact that they are experts in laboratory analysis and data provision.
The delegation visited the analysis laboratories of our earlier mentioned Ghanaian partner Envaserv. The project will benefit from their high standard laboratories and highly qualified employees. Furthermore, the delegation had the possibility to visit the campus grounds of the University of Ghana and KNUST. At the University of Ghana a tour through the huge campus and the botanic gardens was made.
As a part of the campus visit at the IESS as well as at the Department of Planning and Department of Civil Engineering of the KNUST, the German delegation had the chance to talk to the responsible university staff. The main targets such as invovling local communities and students in developing trainings and an early warning system for floods, were discussed.
To sum up, the different perspectives learned during the trip are going to be a benefit for the next project steps. Especially getting to know the partners and their facilities, as well as some possible pilot areas, is going to help choosing the exact locations for the practical experiments. After that decision is made, the next steps are going to be planned jointly and first study projects are going to be handed out. It is safe to say, that the German project partners went home with some new impressions and fresh ideas, which are now going to be used in the collaboration to move the project forward.