The Role of Public Participatory GIS in Rural Water Resources Mapping

Raymond Aabeyir and Amos T. Kabo-bah


PPGIS, Knowledge Sharing, Indigenous Knowledge Sharing, Kokoligu, Vea, Ghana


This paper presents the use of Public Participatory GIS (PPGIS) which enables better appreciation of water resource management at the community level based on two case studies conducted in Northern Ghana. The case studies were aimed at enhancing water resource management for irrigation purposes through participatory means. Emphasis was played on letting community members understand how to monitor water coverage in the reservoir using PPGIS. Selected community members were engaged in mapping the spatial extents of the reservoir and the existing gardens or farms around the reservoir. These points were overlaid on satellite images for them to understand the temporal variation of the water levels. The satellite images, which captured the extent of the water in the reservoir, served as bases to appreciate the level of reduction or increase in the water coverage in the reservoir. The overlay shows that in both communities, there was a reduction in the spatial extent of the water in the reservoir. In Kokoligu, the situation was attributed to human activities such as farming close to the reservoir, and situating gardens within the reservoir while in Vea it was attributed to weather conditions such as low rainfall amounts and intense sunshine which facilitated evaporation. In Kokoligu, people farm within hundred metres from the edge of the reservoir. It was observed that some gardens were situated in the dry parts of the reservoir so as to have easy access to the water in the reservoir or dugouts. Field observations also revealed that the surrounding land cover of the reservoir was bare especially at Kokoligu. Though the farmers were aware of the reduction of the level of the water in the reservoir, it was difficult to appreciate the extent of the reduction. The overlay of the GPS coordinates and the images helped them visualised the extent. The involvement of rural communities helped professionals to learn indigenous water conservation methods such as mulching, application of manure and continues loosen the soil. This paper therefore has demonstrated that PPGIS is rendering both communities and professionals an integrated learning environment for both indigenous communities and professionals to share their knowledge, and build GIS databases that have meaningful impact for resource management, use and development.

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