2 This project was conducted to support the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affair s Inclusive Green Growth aim of increasing water use efficiency by 25% in Dutch financed projects. The project includes development of Country Water Footprint Profiles for seven sub-saharan countries: Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda. The water footprint is a flexible indicator that can build understanding of the water consumed and polluted in producing goods and services, the impact of that water use on maintaining environmental water requirements and water quality standards, and the opportunities for improving water efficiency and land productivity. The water footprint can also be used to understand the interdependencies between countries from the water perspective through the export and import of goods. Finally, the water footprint can be used to understand if water use in a specific location, whether it be a catchment, aquifer or an entire nation, is sustainable. The analyses that follow provide an overview of water use in Ghana, from the perspective of the goods produced within the country, the consumption of goods, in particular agricultural crops, by Ghanaians and whether these goods are produced domestically or imported from other countries. The Country Water Footprint Profile can be used in discussions with ministries and departments concerned with water resource development and management, agriculture and economic development, trade and environmental protection and can support planning and policy development. It is also useful to companies as they develop their corporate water strategy. The country profile is a starting point. Further analyses could investigate each area presented more deeply and/or focus on questions that arise specific to Ghana.
3 General country information Introduction to the water footprint Water footprint of production and major crops Water footprint benchmarks Blue water scarcity Virtual water flows Water footprint of consumption Key learning and next steps Data sources, limitations and references
5 Population: 26.8 million (World Bank, 2014) River Basins: Volta River Basin, Pra River Basin, Tano River Basin, Ankobra River Basin, and coastal river basins. Economic value of agriculture: 22.4% of GDP (World Bank, 2014) Source: Employment in agriculture: 45 % of total employment (World Bank, 2013) Major agricultural crops by tonnes* produced: cassava, yams, plantains, taro (FAOSTAT, 2016) Major crops by export value:* cocoa, Pineapples (FAOSTAT, 2016) *average for SourceNamara et al.. (2011)
6 Country area: 238,540 km 2 (World Bank, 2014) Land area: 227,54 km 2 (World Bank, 2014) Agricultural land: 69% of land area (World Bank, 2013) Arable (under cultivation) land: 4,700,000 hectares (World Bank, 2013), which represents 21% of land area Source: Actual irrigated land: 19% of total agricultural land (World Bank, 2010) People work with cocoa beans in Enchi, Ghana Photo Credits: Reuters
7 The water footprint measures the appropriation of freshwater resources for producing goods and services. Water footprint measures the volume of water consumed or polluted. It tells us where and when water is used, which allows it to be compared to the water available. The water footprint can measure both direct & indirect water use of either a consumer or producer. A water footprint can be calculated for a process, a product, a producer (e.g. a company), a consumer, group of consumers (e.g. a nation) or a geographic area (e.g. a river basin).
9 The water footprint can be measured for three components: the green and blue water footprint measure water quantity, the grey water footprint measures water quality. Green water footprint: volume of rainwater evaporated or incorporated into a product Blue water footprint: volume of surface or groundwater evaporated or incorporated into a product, lost return flow Grey water footprint: volume of water needed to meet water quality standards* * Grey water footprint is not included in the country profiles
11 The water footprint (WF) of production is the amount of local water resources used to produce goods and services within the country. This includes the water footprint of agriculture, industry and domestic water use and it tells us the total volume of water consumed within the borders of the country through evapotranspiration, incorporation into the product or by returning water to a different place or in a different time.
12 Green WF 99.7% Blue WF 0,3% The total annual green and blue water footprint of production in Ghana is 33.7 billion m % of this is green water footprint, that is the use by plants of rainfall stored as soil moisture. The remaining 0.3% of the water footprint is the use of surface and groundwater for agriculture, industry and the domestic water supply.
13 Green water can be used by natural ecosystems or for the production of crops, livestock grazing, forestry and horticulture. Since the green water footprint is related to the land where rain has fallen, the green water footprint tells us for what purposes both land and water is being used. The green water footprint of agriculture indicates that the available green water, and the land that is associated with it, is being used to produce crops or livestock and is no longer available for other uses, e.g., for supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services.
14 Grazing 3% 3% of the annual green water footprint of agricultural production in Ghana is used for grazing. 97% is consumed in crop production. Crop production 97% Export 36% 64% of the annual green water footprint of production is for products used within Ghana while 36% is consumed in producing products for export. Domestic use 64%
15 The annual green water footprint of agricultural crop production in Ghana is 32.7 billion m 3. The map of the green water footprint indicates where rain-fed agriculture is occurring.
16 Cassava 14% Maize 10% Plantains 8% Oil palm fruit 5% Groundnuts 4% Sorghum 4% Cocoa is the crop using the most green water in Ghana with 38% of the total green water footprint consumed in its production. Cocoa is a major exported crop with the largest export value. Cassava is the second largest user of green water with 14% of the total green water footprint. Cocoa 38% Other crops 17% Maize and plantains follow at 10% and 8%, respectively.
17 Blue water, i.e., water from lakes, rivers and aquifers, can be used by natural ecosystems or for the production of crops, livestock water supply, forestry and horticulture as well as industry and domestic water supply. The blue water footprint tells us for what purposes surface and groundwater resources are being used. The blue water footprint of production indicates that the available blue water is being used to produce crops or livestock, industry or domestic water supply and is no longer available for other uses, e.g., supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services.
18 Domestic water supply 23% Industrial production 5% Crop production 35% The total annual blue water footprint of production is 101 million m 3. Of this 37% is used for animal water supply, 35% is used for producing crops, 23% is used for domestic water supply and 5% is industrial water use. Animal water supply 37% Export 35% 65% of the annual blue water footprint of production is for products used within Ghana while 35% is consumed in producing products for export. A very small percentage of this is for industrial products. Domestic use 65%
19 The annual blue water footprint of agricultural crop production in Ghana is 35 million m 3. The map shows where irrigated farm lands are located and how much blue water is consumed in crop production.
20 Rice 31% Tomatoes 13% Taro 5% Onions, dry 5% Chillies and peppers are the crops that use the largest share of the blue water in Ghana with 45% of the total blue water footprint consumed in their production. Rice is the second largest user of blue water with 31% of the total blue water footprint. Chillies and peppers 45% Other crops 1% Tomatoes and taro follow at 13% and 5%, respectively.
22 Green WF 100% Cocoa, WF= 35,368 m 3 /tonne Blue WF 0% Cocoa is the crop consuming the largest share of green water in Ghana and has a green+blue water footprint of 35,368 m 3 per tonne of production. The 25 th percentile benchmark green+blue water footprint is 14,248 m 3 per tonne of production and the global average is 19,749 m 3 per tonne. 470,980 tonnes* of cocoa were produced annually. Export of cocoa was valued at an average of $546 million* per year. Comparison with the global benchmark suggests that there are significant opportunities for increasing water use efficiency through improving yields per unit of water consumed. Crop Green-blue water footprint (m 3 /tonne) at different production percentiles 10 th 20 th 25 th 50 th Global average *average for Cocoa 12,931 13,782 14,248 19,768 19,749 Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2014)
23 Global water footprint benchmarks tell us how efficiently water is being used in producing a crop and the potential for increasing water (and land) productivity through reasonable means. Water footprint benchmarks are determined for the green plus the blue water footprint combined as this represents the total water consumed in crop production. The water footprint of a crop is compared to the 25 th percentile water footprint for production globally for that crop. This is used as the global benchmark. The global average also indicates whether the water footprint per unit of production is exceeding the average of all production, worldwide. When the water footprint in cubic metres of water consumed per tonne of production is high in comparison to the global benchmark, this indicates low water productivity and can indicate low yields per hectare of land. Following are benchmark comparisons for three major crops selected for their share of the total crop production green water footprint for Kenya and three major crops selected for their share of the total crop production blue water footprint.
24 Green WF 100% Maize, WF= 2778 m 3 /ton Blue WF 0% Maize is the crop consumes the third largest share of green water in Ghana and has a green+blue water footprint of 2778 m 3 per tonne of production. The 25 th percentile benchmark green+blue water footprint is 562 m 3 per tonne of production and the global average is 1028 m 3 per tonne. 1.1 million tonnes* of maize were produced annually. Comparison with the global benchmark suggests that there are significant opportunities for increasing water use efficiency through improving yields per unit of water consumed. Crop Green-blue water footprint (m 3 /tonne) at different production percentiles 10 th 20 th 25 th 50 th Global average *average for Maize Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2014)
25 When the water footprint of primarily rain-fed crops such as maize and cocoa is greater than the global benchmark, it indicates that the land and water resources used to grow these crops are being used inefficiently. The use of green water can become more efficient through improvements in a range of agricultural practices, e.g., seed selection, mulching, tilling, improved soil condition and nutrients application. Implementing agricultural practices that improve the yield per hectare without increasing the green+blue water footprint will increase the productivity of the land and water resources used in crop production. With maize being an important food crop, increasing land and water productivity will increase food security. For cocoa, this can lead to generating more revenue and improving sustainable water use. Cocoa is a valuable export crop for Ghana; increasing its water productivity can increase its water footprint comparative advantage globally.
26 Chillies and peppers WF = 569 m 3 /tonne Blue WF 10.5% Chillies and peppers are the crops that use the largest share of blue water in Ghana. The average green+blue water footprint of chillies and peppers in Ghana is 569 m 3 per tonne of production. The 25 th percentile benchmark green+blue water footprint is 180 m 3 per tonne of production and the global average is 282 m 3 per tonne. 229,198 tonnes* of chillies and peppers were produced annually. Green WF 89.5% Comparison with the global benchmark suggests that there are opportunities for increasing water use efficiency through improving yields per unit of water consumed. Crop Chilles and peppers Green-blue water footprint (m 3 /tonne) at different production percentiles 10 th 20 th 25 th 50 th Global average Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2014) *average for
27 Green WF 98% Rice, WF = 2250 m 3 /tonne Blue WF 2% Rice is the crop that uses the second largest share of blue water in Ghana and has an average green+blue water footprint of 2250 m 3 per tonne of production. The 25 th percentile benchmark green+blue water footprint is 952 m 3 per tonne of production and the global average is 1486 m 3 per tonne. 238,708 tonnes* of rice were produced annually. Comparison with the global benchmark suggests that there are significant opportunities for increasing water use efficiency through improving yields per unit of water consumed. Crop Green-blue water footprint (m 3 /tonne) at different production percentiles 10 th 20 th 25 th 50 th Global average *average for Rice Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2014)
28 Tomatoes, WF= 550 m 3 /tonne Green WF 96% Crop Blue WF 4% Green-blue water footprint (m 3 /tonne) at different production percentiles 10 th 20 th 25 th 50 th Global average Tomatoes Tomatoes are the crop that consumes the third largest share of blue water in Ghana and has a green+blue water footprint of 550 m 3 per tonne of production. The 25 th percentile benchmark green+blue water footprint is 98 m 3 per tonne of production and the global average is 171 m 3 per tonne. 203,920 tonnes* of tomatoes were produced annually. Tomato production in Ghana is inefficient in terms of water use compared to the global benchmark and increases in water use efficiency through improving yields per unit of water would be beneficial. *average for Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2014)
29 The production of chillies and peppers, rice and tomatoes all together consumes the largest proportion of blue water in Ghana and their green+blue water footprint exceeds the global benchmark both for the 25 th percentile and the global average. While the production quantities of these crops are moderate, improving the productivity of land and water resources used in their production will increase the sustainability of production as well as the sustainability of water resources in the basins where they are cultivated.
31 Blue water scarcity compares the blue water footprint to the blue water available after environmental flows are met. The blue water available takes into account surface water flows and the connected surficial aquifers. It does not take into account deep groundwater aquifers. It also does not consider storage capacity and releases from dams. When blue water scarcity is <1, environmental flows are met. With increasing levels of water scarcity above 1, the potential for ecosystem degradation and loss of ecosystem services also increases. Average annual blue water scarcity indicates the general trend toward blue water scarcity while monthly blue water scarcity indicates the variability of blue water scarcity across the twelve months of the year. Increasing dependence on blue water resources during time periods and/or in areas already experiencing blue water scarcity will increase the environmental, economic and social impacts of blue water scarcity.
32 Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2016) On average, two-thirds of Ghana faces moderate (yellow) to significant (orange) levels of blue water scarcity while some areas have severe (red) levels of blue water scarcity. These are areas where the blue water footprint is already exceeding the available blue water resulting in violation of environmental flow requirements.
33 Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2016) In Ghana, February, March and April are the months with the highest blue water scarcity. Most of the country experiences severe blue water scarcity in February and March while in April and May the northern part of the country experiences severe blue water scarcity. This occurs even though the blue water footprint of production is only 0.3% of the total water footprint of production.
34 January May June July August September October November December
36 The virtual-water export from a country is the volume of virtual water associated with the export of goods from the area. It is the total volume of freshwater consumed or polluted to produce products for export. The virtual-water import into a country is the volume of virtual water associated with the import of goods into the area. It is the total volume of freshwater used (in the export areas) to produce the products. Virtual water flows indicate the balance of water consumed for production within Ghana versus the water consumed in countries exporting to Ghana. The water footprint of production in Ghana can be either for goods consumed within Ghana or for export products. The water footprint of export products becomes a virtual water flow to the countries the products are exported to.
37 Ghana exports a total of 12,151 million m 3 per year of green water and 11 million m 3 of blue water through its exported goods. It imports 1,730 million m 3 per year of green water and 393 m 3 million of blue water through the goods it imports. This makes Ghana a net virtual water exporter of green water and a net virtual water importer for blue water.
38 Virtual water flows are useful for understanding the proportion of dependency on domestic water resources for food and other goods versus the dependency on water resources in other countries. Virtual water flows assist with considerations of self sufficiency versus external reliance, i.e., import dependency for goods and in prioritising sustainable use of water resources domestically versus externalising the water footprint and its impacts to other countries. Producing food and other goods domestically provides self sufficiency but may lead to unsustainable pressure on local freshwater resources. Importing food and other goods from other countries may put less pressure on domestic water resources but increases import dependency and reliance on water resources external to the country. Unsustainable use of water resources in exporting countries may lead to vulnerability in the supply of those goods and risks associated with access to and pricing of the desired goods.
40 The water footprint of consumption is the amount of water used to produce all the goods and services that are consumed by the people living in a country. This water footprint may be partly inside the country and partly in other countries, depending on whether the products are locally produced or imported.
41 Green WF 98% The total annual green and blue water footprint of consumption in Ghana is 23.2 billion m 3. 98% of this is green water footprint; the remaining 2% of the water footprint of consumption is blue. Blue WF 2%
42 External 5% The annual green water footprint of consumption in Ghana is 22.7 billion m 3. This means that the per capita green water footprint is 1149 m 3 per year. Of that, 95% comes from internal green water resources while 5% comes from external water resources through imported goods. Internal 95%
43 Domestic 5% Industrial 2% The total annual blue water footprint of consumption is 481 million m 3. Of this 93% is for agricultural crops, 5% is for domestic water supply and 2% is industrial water use. The per capita blue water footprint of consumption is 24.3 m 3 per year. Agricultural 93% Internal 14% 14% of the annual blue water footprint of consumption is for products produced within Ghana while 86% is for products produced elsewhere. External 86%
44 The large majority of Ghana s green water footprint of consumption comes from inside the country, with a minor external dependency of only 5% of the total green water footprint. Similarly, the majority of Ghana s blue water footprint of consumption is from within the country with 14% of external dependency. This indicates that the national consumption of Ghana is mainly reliant on its own production using its own water resources and that the country has a low dependency on other countries for the supply of goods. Given that the blue water resources of the country are under pressure, it would be worth investigating the potential of importing some goods with a high water demand for production while producing other goods domestically with a water footprint comparative advantage. This way, the pressure on Ghana s blue water resources could be reduced while maintaining a balanced level of dependency on other countries.
46 In Ghana, the water resources (green and blue water) are mainly consumed for crop production. The major crops grown in Ghana which consume the biggest proportion of green and blue water resources are cocoa, maize, chillies and peppers, rice and tomatoes. Cocoa is produced primarily for export while the other crops are produced primarily for domestic consumption. Water productivity for these crops is low when compared with the global water footprint benchmarks. The blue water resources of Ghana are under pressure with high blue water scarcity in most of the country during a few months of the year. Its blue water consumption is unsustainable and little protection has been given to environmental flow requirements. Improving water and land productivity can improve water use sustainability, help ensure food security and export value. Ghana is a net virtual water exporter for green water while it is a net virtual water importer for blue water. Ghana s national consumption water footprint shows that the country has a low external water dependency.
47 Agricultural development: Evaluate agricultural practices and identify those that will improve yields and reduce water footprints. Economic development: Assess agricultural crops for their comparative advantage in terms of water footprint from the global perspective and internally to Ghana. Water resource management: Conduct a geographic Water Footprint Assessment to inform water resource management and planning and enhance ecosystem services. Trade: Investigate trade-offs between reliance on internal and external water resources for food and supply chain inputs.
49 Available data was used in the preparation of this report. Water footprint data was sourced from WaterStat: (see References and Data Sources). The data covers the years Water footprint of production (Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y, 2011): The data includes 126 crops modeled at a 5 by 5 arc minute grid for the years using a grid-based dynamic water balance model to calculate crop water use over time, with a time step of one day. The model takes into account the daily soil water balance and climatic conditions for each grid cell. It does not differentiate between surface and groundwater use. Blue water scarcity (Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y, 2016): Global water scarcity was assessed on a monthly basis at the level of grid cells of 30x30 arc minute. Water scarcity as locally experienced is calculated as the ratio of the blue water footprint in a grid cell to the total blue water availability in the cell. Total blue water availability is the sum of the runoff generated within the grid cell plus the runoff generated in all upstream grid cells minus the environmental flow requirement and minus the blue water footprint in upstream grid cells. The available water includes surface and surficial groundwater. Blue water scarcity does not take into account the use of deep groundwater aquifers. Virtual water flows (Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y, 2014): International virtual water flows were calculated by multiplying, per trade commodity, the volume of trade by the respective average WF per ton of product as in the exporting nation. Data on international trade in agricultural and industrial products have been taken from the Statistics for International Trade Analysis database available from the International Trade Centre. Water footprint of consumption (Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y, 2014): Data on national consumption of agricultural products per country for the period were taken from the Supply and Utilization Accounts of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. For industrial commodities, the WF of national consumption is calculated based on the top-down approach as the WF of industrial processes taking place within the nation plus the virtual water import related to import of industrial commodities minus the virtual water export.
50 The water footprint data used in this report come from peer reviewed scientific literature and have been accessed from publicly available global databases. In many cases, models have been used to produce the data. These data have not been verified using local data and will contain the inaccuracies and uncertainties inherent in datasets produced using data aggregated from local sources to the country scale. As all data were developed using the same models, they do support comparative analysis. The data are averages from the country over the years in the studies: Variation will be found in the water footprints of individual producers and consumers both within one year and across years. The results presented in this report should be considered indicative, not accurately representative, of the actual situation. However, they are useful for identifying the general conditions within the country and can be useful in determining where studies should be undertaken using more accurate data.
51 FAOSTAT (2016). FAOSTAT database collections. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome. Retrieved from Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2011) The green, blue and grey water footprint of crops and derived crop products, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 15(5): Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2014) Water footprint benchmarks for crop production: A first global assessment, Ecological Indicators, 46: Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2016) Four billion people facing severe water scarcity, Science Advances, 2(2): e Namara, R.E., Horowitz, L., Nyamadi, B., Barry, B., (2011) Irrigation Development in Ghana: Past experiences, emerging opportunities, and future directions, Ghana Strategy Support Program (GSSP) GSSP Working Paper No WaterStat Water Footprint Network, The Hague, the Netherlands. World Bank (2014). World Development Indicators, Retrieved from
52 International Water House The Hague The Netherlands
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