Energy Minister Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh has told Parliament that officials are still monitoring the inflows into the Akosombo and Kpong Dams. He said if it becomes necessary, the Volta River Authority (VRA) will spill again. “We are still observing the inflows and if it becomes necessary we will spill,” the minister said while briefing the House on Wednesday, November 8 on the spillage that caused flood in parts of the Volta Region. He further justified the spillage in the manner that was done.
“If the VRA had not been proactive, the water would have overtopped the dam which would have had unimaginable catastrophe on the people,…spillage was the only option to ensure the safety of the dam. “The controlled spillage led to the preservation of lives, the Akosombo Dam and Sogakope Bridge,” he said.
“Thankfully no death has been recorded,” stressed.
On Friday, September 15, a controlled spillage occurred which was described by the Authority. Residents in areas around the Dam were warned to move to higher ground ahead of the spillage, which occurred concurrently with that of Kpong Dam. On Monday, October 30, the Authority issued a statement through its Corporate Affairs and External Relations Unit announcing the end of the spillage of excess water.
“The end of the controlled spillage notwithstanding, VRA is committed to continuing its relief and rehabilitation efforts until lives and livelihoods are restored,” it indicated. “VRA wishes to take this opportunity to acknowledge the various Government agencies and stakeholders for their support to impacted communities.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the VRA, Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa had earlier said the lake was experiencing inflows more than expected hence the spillage in that magnitude.
“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.
By: Laud Nartey