This annual ritual must not continue

BY: Daily Graphic
library photo
library photo

The spillage of excess water from the Weija Dam in Accra always comes with the routine warning from the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to communities around the area to evacuate in the wake of the imminent danger the spilled water poses to life and property.

The notice from GWCL, previously a mere alert, has become a serious warning in recent times because of the regularity of flooding in Accra and its suburbs lately and the attendant deaths and destruction to property.

It sounds alarming that the authorities are asking residents within the catchment area of the potential floodwaters to vacate with immediate effect together with their valuables to forestall a wholesale damage to life and property.

For the many households and families who have found homes along those areas, there couldn’t have been a worse announcement.

Invariably, the onset of the rains appears to have tampered with their fate, and invited the long hand of city authorities into their ‘home affairs’.

It is difficult to imagine where the large numbers of residents would relocate to with their families and property after years of life in their familiar localities.

Although most of these communities are virtual slums, they have become some kind of albatross on the neck of city authorities.

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The Daily Graphic remains happy that yesterday when the first spill was executed, the projected danger looked contained, and there was hardly any threat to life and property (refer to our story on Page 12).

But that is not to deny the sense in the caution expressed by the experts or to brush aside the urgency of their warning.

Instead, we believe that this should inform residents in communities along the Weija area to get prepared for the day of reckoning when circumstances could compel them to evacuate to save life and property.

We dread the situation where such evacuation would be enforced under emergency conditions, given the nation’s relatively weak abilities – in both expertise and equipment – in dealing with emergency situations.

That is why we would call on the relevant authorities to keep a close eye on the situation and, at least, help evacuate those who face immediate danger before potential disaster strikes.

It goes without saying that it is now proper to cut off any new developments in the area to reduce the weight of risk faced by human lives and property in the area.

Meanwhile, it is also time to review the various water channels around the area to create a path for the free flow of water through a proper course to forestall the annual flood ritual.

Infrastructure, including roads and accommodation facilities, have come at a huge cost to the environment, including the water bodies.

But the worst of these are the unplanned and unapproved developments that give no thought to their impact on the environment – and, by extension-- life and property.

We think an engineering attention may change the dynamics around the Weija Dam water spillage and the potential floods.

It is important to salvage whatever can be salvaged before it proves too late to act.