Vice President calls for Private Public Partnership in the construction of dams

Vice President John Mahama

Vice President John Dramani Mahama has called for Public Private Partnership in the construction, operation and maintenance of dams and other water bodies to ensure their sustainability and conservation.

He expressed disappointment at the rate at which dams and dugouts were poorly maintained in the country and cited a study by the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, which showed the fast depreciation of the number of dams and dugouts in the country.

In a statement read on his behalf by Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minster of Food and Agriculture on Tuesday during the fourth Ghana Dam Forum held in Accra, Vice President Mahama called for a stoppage to all activities that tended to affect our water bodies.

“The depletion of the forests by way of logging, land clearing for farming and the destruction of vegetable generally affect our water bodies,” he said.

The Ghana Dams Forum is an annual event instituted four years by the Ghana Dams Dialogue (GDD) to deliberate on issues affecting water bodies especially dams in the country. It is being attended by stakeholders in the water resource sector.

He said the Volta Basin in the country constituted the main drainage system in the country and covered a total area of 400,000 square kilometers and that about 82 percent of the Basin was located in Ghana and Burkina Faso with the remaining 18 per cent being shared by Togo, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali.

He noted that Ghana had built two hydro electric dams on her section of the Volta River and that together they produced 1,060 Mega Watts of power, constituting about 75 per cent of the nation’s total electricity supply.

The Vice President expressed his disappointment at the rate at which huge volumes of water from the Volta River downstream of the Kpong Hydro-electric Dam flowed aimlessly into the Atlantic Ocean.

He expressed the hope that the abuse of enormous fresh water would be addressed by the development of the Accra Plain Irrigation Project, adding that feasibility studies of the Plain had been completed and that workshops would be organized to validate the studies.

Mr Mahama said the availability of artificial water supply had become necessary in order ensure continuous irrigation and all year round food supply, adding that irrigation and appropriate crop types were the most important factors for sustaining food availability and security.

He said Ghana had an estimated area surface of 23.8 million hectares of land of which 13.6 million hectares or 57 per cent were classified as agriculture land.

“Agriculture land under cultivation as at 2009 was 7.3 million hectares which constituted 54 percent of agriculture land,” he added.

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Deputy Minister of Energy, said proper maintenance of our dams was important since they could also be used for other purposes such as recreational activities, tourism and aquaculture and cited the Akosombo Dam as an example.

He called for a framework for future water and energy decision-making that recognized the rights and risks to stakeholder.

Source: GNA

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