Human health

Irrigation development creates a wide range of conditions that allow the growth and spread of disease vectors for malaria, schistosomiasis, etc. In general, these negative effects may be offset by improved living conditions and nutritional status. The construction of the Akosombo Dam eliminated the regular annual flooding of the Lower Volta River. This resulted in the development of sandbars that virtually blocked the estuary and prevented the upstream flow of sea water such that the estuarine salt wedge reduced from 30 to less than 5 km. Without the influence of saline waters, the clear waters of the Lower Volta became an ideal habitat for aquatic weeds and vectors of water-related diseases, particularly schistosomiasis. However, the impact of these activities on human health is difficult to estimate, so we have not defined a disease-related indicator (ODA, 1992).

Safe drinking water is also difficult to model as a function of climate change and adaptation strategies. An obvious indicator, such as percentage of households with safe drinking water, would be simply predicted by definition of the adaptation strategy ('increase of households with safe drinking water from 40% to 70%') and would, thereby, be meaningless.

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