Integrated Hydro-Informatics: Lower Volta Flood Plain disaster management
This article is situated within the context of the flooding that began on October 9, 2023, which is associated with Volta River Authority’s (VRA) standard operations of spilling excess water to safeguard the integrity of the Akosombo and Kpong Hydropower dams.
On Wednesday October 5, 2022, hundreds of houses were reported submerged at Oblogo, Tetegu, New Weija, SCC, Tatop, Sampa valley, parts of Top Town and American Farm at Ngleshie Amanfro following the opening of the Spill gates of the Weija Dam by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), which caused the destruction of vehicles, home appliances and personal effects running into millions of Ghana cedis.
A year on, in October 9, 2023 an even stronger flooding was reported at downstream communities specifically, South, Central and North Tongu, Shai Osudoku, Anlo, Ada East and Asuogyaman after the double-stage spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong Hydropower facilities by the VRA, which effect on life and property is not dissimilar from the GWCL spillage in 2022.
In order to strengthen infrastructure monitoring for flood risk reduction in the face of changing global environment associated with climate variability, a three-step solution is recommended.
One, strengthened collaboration between the Water Resources Commission (WRC), the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMET) and the Hydrological Services Authority (HSA) to build an Integrated Hydro Informatics Management System (IHIMS) on future Climate Scenario Models and System Dynamics for qualitative and quantitative monitoring and data analysis.
This requires a basin-wide installation of stream gauge networks and sensors.
Then two (2), data exchange between upstream Riparian regions and their activities on the system, then three (3), granting water infrastructure institutions system access.
A Flood Early Warning System could be a sub-component within the larger IHIMS.
This will strengthen our flood emergency preparedness through the collection of quality data, analysis and forecasts to minimise the scale of damage going forward.
We hope the floods will go away, but experience has shown that it is here to stay.
So, we need to strengthen our adaptability for an improved disaster management.
Water Resources Development and Management Consultant.