Akosombo Dam Spillage: There was no deeper stakeholder engagement by VRA – Ablakwa
The Member of Parliament for North Tongu in the Volta Region, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has accused the Volta River Authority (VRA) of not engaging stakeholders ahead of the spillage of water from the Akosombo and Kpong dams.
The VRA commenced the spillage of excess water on September 15, due to rising levels of the Akosombo and Kpong hydro dams.
Many communities along the Lower Volta basin have been affected by the spillage.
The hardest-hit areas are South, Central, and North Tongu districts in the Volta Region.
The MP of North Tongu who described the development as a national crisis said knowing how massive this year’s spillage will be, the VRA should have briefed all stakeholders and also strategized ahead of the spillage.
In a radio interview monitored by Graphic Online on Accra based Okay FM on Monday morning (Oct 16) Mr Ablakwa said, “No one can challenge their justification for the spillage, but it is the process that we have issues with, how they went about it. Because the level of the water was increasingly rising and based on meteorological forecast, they would have known that there will be a need for this massive spillage.”
“The best thing they could have done was, there should have been a deeper engagement so we all, especially those at the lower belt of the Volta Lake and all stakeholders will be prepared, so there will be relocation to higher grounds”.
“That kind of deeper engagement was not done. Do you believe that as a Member of Parliament for the area, nobody called me, I got no information from the VRA, no meetings, no engagement. I only saw press statement on September 4, 2023”, he explained.
He continued that “That press statement did not tell us the nature of the spillage. We know that every now and then there is one spillage. Those spillages are on a lower scale. But this one its extraordinary spillage, many people say the last time they saw something like this was in the 60s. So, this is major, it is not the ordinary spillages we have been witnessing.”
He stressed that knowing the nature of the spillage, the VRA should have been proactive in order to avert such a disaster.
Volta River Authority (VRA) has said all communities in the lower Volta basin, affected by floods as a result of the spillage from the Akosombo Dam were adequately informed and educated on the need to move to higher grounds before the spillage started.
It said the last simulation exercise about a possible spillage as a result of the continuous inflow of water into the dam was undertaken in May 2023.
But Mr Ablakwa said simulation did not give an indication that there was going to be a massive spillage this year. "The simulation is to prepare the minds of people that in an eventuality when the time comes this is what you do, so yes the simulation was done, but that simulation did not give an indication that there was going to be a spillage of this scale this year. And they do this simulation regularly.
He said "Beyond simulation, now that you became aware that you have to spill and it's not going to be an ordinary spilling, the discharge will be on such a grand scale, you should let us know. Engage us as key stakeholders, even Members of Parliaments were not engaged what about the individuals.
If they had told us in clear terms what to expect, because it looked like the annual press statement that come out, ….they did not tell us the scare that this one is going to cover communities, cover farms, livihoods are going to be destroy, then we will know what to do Unless they want to tell us that they themselves didn’t know the kind of spillages and the effect that will have been an indictment on them " , he added.