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Hydrological Authority needs broader mandate to control flood - Engineering body

BY: Emmanuel Bonney
Henry Kwadwo Boateng — President,  IET-Ghana
Henry Kwadwo Boateng — President, IET-Ghana

The Institution of Engineering and Technology Ghana (IET-Ghana) has proposed a broader mandate for the Ghana Hydrological Authority (GHA) to deal with flood control.

Consequently, the institution has suggested a change of name of the authority to Ghana Hydrological and Flood Control Authority to enable it to effectively coordinate the activities of agencies of flood control, including the Ghana Highway Authority, the Department of Urban Roads, the Department of Feeder Roads, and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).

The Institution of Engineering is a licensed professional engineering body of the Engineering Council.

The President of the IET-Ghana, Henry Kwadwo Boateng, who made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Friday, noted that since the agencies were into drainage construction, it was important to coordinate their activities rather than allow them to undertake individual works.

“When you add flood control to the authority, it means its presence must be felt even at the district level so that it will be part of the planning schemes of the various districts. It can also give technical advice because of the authority given to it,” he stated.

Parliament

On July 28, 2022, Parliament approved the establishment of the Ghana Hydrological Authority.

The essential responsibility of the authority is to undertake planning, designing, execution, operation and maintenance of flood control mechanisms, coastal engineering works and drainage improvements, among other activities, in the country.

Mr Boateng indicated that with the President yet to assent to the Bill, it was better to make a proposal for a name change for the soon-to-be-established authority.

“We are asking the Minister of Works and Housing to consider what we are proposing,” he said.

Mr Boateng noted that the institution had been following the flooding situation in the country keenly as there had been a dramatic change, with places that did not flood in the past getting flooded nowadays, hence the need for stakeholders to work together to deal with the problem.

He said although there was natural flooding that occurred even in the developed world, the situation where little rainfall caused flooding in parts of the country was unacceptable.

Mr Boateng said all was not well with the drainage situation in the country, especially with regard to designs to contain the volume of water that flowed through them.

In view of that, he said the Hydrological Department had proposed the construction of drains to a minimum size of 0.9 metres for easy desilting.

“That is their proposal, but because they do not have that power, the others can decide whether to go by it or not. So that is what I meant in terms of coordination so that the agencies do not do things differently,” he said.