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Dredging or no dredging, this is an emergency; the lake is experiencing excess inflows – VRA

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa has declared the current situation with the Akosombo dam which is experiencing inflows more than expected as an emergency situation.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa has declared the current situation with the Akosombo dam which is experiencing inflows more than expected as an emergency situation.

He says the issue has nothing to do with dredging.

Mr. Antwi-Darko indicated that the spillage of water from the Akosombo dam will continue until the excess inflows in the lake recede.

“We are on phase II [of the spillage] right now and it is a cycle. It is normal at this time of the year for us to experience inflows. The difference is that we are getting more than expected and to safeguard this dam means that we have to spill water, that is the standard operation for any hydro dam but the inflows that we are seeing now are in excess.

“Definitely, as the cycle goes through this will recede so we are hoping it will recede in the next time,” he told journalists on Thursday, October 12.

“The spilling may continue even though we are anticipating that the levels may drop down to phase 1, which was started on September 15 but of course, we did not have much excess as we are seeing now, this is an emergency as we have seen from the beginning.

“Whether dredging or no dredging it is an emergency. The volume of water that is coming into the lake right now which we have to throw out, it means that we need to evacuate people from wherever they are to ensure they are safe until the inflows recede,” he added.

The VRA was accused of neglecting its responsibilities in the Lower Volta Basin hence the huge impact of flood caused by spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams on communities.

A Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Kenneth Dzirasah, accused the Authority of failing to dredge the estuary in Ada to allow for the free flow of water.

Mr Dzirasah indicated that for the past 20 years that he left the scene, there has been no dredging of the estuary. The VRA, he added, has a dredging machine that is over 40 years old and is unserviceable.

He was commenting on the flood that was caused by the spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong dams, affecting communities including Mepe and Battor.

He said is threatening the structural integrity of the Sogakofe Bridge in the Volta Region.

He indicated that the level of the water from the spillage has reached the neck of the Sogakope Bridge in the Volta Region hence if the spillage is not stopped immediately, the facility is going to be affected.

Speaking on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 on Wednesday, October 11, the former Member of Parliament for South Tongu whose facility has been destroyed by the flood said his main concern is “the fact that the Lower Volta Basin has been neglected for a such long time that the slightest natural event that occurs destabilizes the entire North, Central, and South Tongu.

“As I speak to you now, the level of the water from the spillage in Akosombo has risen to such a level that if we are not careful and we don’t stop the spillage the integrity of the Sogakope Bridge will be compromised because water has gotten to the neck of the bridge and it may not start climbing over. It doesn’t need an engineer to conjecture what possibility there exists because of the force of the water.”

He further highlighted the reasons communities in the area are mostly affected by the spillage.

“The reason why we are suffering from this flood is that the statutory body that has the responsibility for the management of the lower Volta Basin, that is the Volta River Authority (VRA) has not taken up its responsibility seriously with the estuary of the volta in Ada.

“For the past 20 years that I left the scene there has been no dredging of the estuary, the VRA has a dredging machine that is over 40 years old and is unserviceable, nothing happens in our Lower Volta Basin here, meanwhile we have to sacrifice all that we have to provide electricity,” he said.

The current Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa in a tweet also “urged VRA to ensure all those in affected areas are relocated to higher ground before carrying out another round of discharge.”

The situation has compelled the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) to shut down its substation in Sogakope.

According to GRIDCo, it has undertaken the emergency shutdown “for safety reasons to mitigate the risk of electrocution, loss of life, and related dangers”.

The flooding of the substation and its environs has been occasioned by the controlled spillage of the Akosombo Dam by the Volta River Authority (VRA).

The Authority last month announced plans to commence controlled spillage of not only the Akosombo Dam but also the Kpong Dam due to the consistent rise of inflow pattern.

It, therefore, alerted residents along the Volta River and downstream to take the necessary precautionary measures before time.

 

Already, power to residents in Sogakope and its environs has been affected.

But GRIDCo assures that “power will be restored as soon as the situation improves”.

“GRIDCo and VRA deeply regret any inconvenience caused by this exercise.”

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