Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ghana, Togo to build dam on River Oti

By Edmund Smith-Asante, ACCRA
River Oti
Consultations have begun between Ghana and Togo for the construction of a dam on River Oti for the benefit of both countries.

The dam, which may be sited at Juale in the Volta Region on the Ghana/Togo Border, is intended to supply hydroelectric power, provide water for irrigation and would also be used for recreational purposes, among others.

The Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Dr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, made this known in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of a two-day national workshop on the dissemination and appropriation of ECOWAS guidelines for the development of water infrastructure in the West African sub-region yesterday.

The workshop, which was jointly organised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), ECOWAS Water Resources Coordinating Centre (WRCC) and the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH), is being attended by representatives of the regional coordinating councils (RCCs) of the Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions.

Other participants are from the ECOWAS WRCC, the Volta Basin Authority (VBA), the Bui Power Authority (BPA), the Water Resources Commission (WRC), the Ghana Water Company Ltd (GWCL), the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Ghana Dams Dialogue and district assemblies.

Dr Manu stated that “the governments of Ghana and Togo have initiated bilateral efforts towards the possible joint development of a dam on the Oti River for the shared benefit of the two countries”.

Dam safety
He said the government was also in the process of establishing a national dam safety unit and adopting a legislative instrument on dam safety in the country.

Dr Manu said the guidelines developed by the ECOWAS WRCC for the development of water infrastructure in the sub-region would therefore complement the government’s efforts and the national guidelines and practices to promote the comprehensive development and management of planned and existing water infrastructure in the country.

Guarding against dam breaks
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Executive Director of the WRC, Dr Ben Ampomah, said “if you take the sub-region, we don’t have any laid-down rules for the design, construction, management, operation and decommissioning of dams or water infrastructure”.

Dr Ampomah said Ghana had, however, developed dam safety regulations which would be laid before Parliament before the end of the year.

The Regional Coordinator, Water and Wetlands Programme, IUCN, Mr Awaïss Aboubacar, said his organisation, as a member of the steering committee for water infrastructure for West Africa representing civil society, and an organiser of the dialogue on the guidelines, was supporting the guidelines process.

This story was first published by the Daily Graphic on September 29, 2015

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