The Densu River basin is one of the most import water resources in Ghana. It is a source of drinking water to more than half of the five (5) million populations of Accra and seven other communities within the basin. Rapid population growth and increasing development pressure within the basin is changing the basin land cover into settlement. This study examined the trend in land use and land cover changes that occurred within the basin from 1986 to 2018. The results show that between the years 1986 and 2018, the area within the basin covered by settlement and bare land increased from about 3% to about 25%. Within the same period, the forest area reduced from nearly 49% to about 17%. Shrub and grassland increased from 27% to about 49%, farmland decreased from nearly 20% to about 8% and the water bodies changed only marginally, from 1.02 to 1.15%. In general, the most significant changes in land use and land cover occurred between 1986 and 2002. After 2002 the land use and land cover changes either slowed down or changed course. This can be attributed to the establishment of the Densu Basin Board in 2003. Through the board a riparian Buffer Zone Policy was developed with the aim of protecting and maintaining the vegetation cover within the basin so as to improve water quality.
Key words: River Basin, land use and land cover changes, water resources management.