One of the skimmer boats clearing weeds from the lake at Kpong
One of the skimmer boats clearing weeds from the lake at Kpong

Maritime Authority donates skimmer boats to VRA

The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has presented three skimmer boats to the Volta River Authority (VRA) to help clear aquatic weeds from the Volta Lake.

Two of the boats have been deployed on the Kpong Dam and its surrounding areas where the weeds have become a threat to the inhabitants in the dam’s catchment area.

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The third has been stationed at Ada in the Lower Volta area, where water from the lake enters the sea.

The Director of Environment and Sustainable Development of VRA, Ben Sackey, said the VRA, as a corporate body mandated to generate power, was also bound to mitigate the impact of its operations on the environment and any incidental impacts on impacted communities.

He said since the appearance of aquatic weeds on the Volta Lake, the VRA had implemented several actions to ensure their management and control, which included mechanical, chemical, biological control and manual weed harvesting.

Mr Sackey added that as part of efforts to manage and eradicate the aquatic weeds on the Volta Lake, the authority had received tremendous help from several institutions whose responsibilities had bearing on managing inland waters and the environment.

For instance in 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented two barges and two weed harvesters to the VRA as the first in a series of support to help with the weed harvesting of the Kpong Headpond, he said.

“It is worth noting that the EPA’s weed harvesters have reached the end of their useful lives and will be decommissioned soon. Another candle support has been lit with the deployment of three weed harvesters from the Ghana Maritime Authority to support VRA’s efforts in controlling the menace of aquatic weeds on the Volta River,” Mr Sackey stated. `

Mr Sackey, therefore, expressed the gratitude of VRA to the GMA for the kind gesture.

The Head of Surveys and Inspection at the Tema office of GMA, Captain William Eson Thompson, said the GMA which was in charge of inner waters in the country needed to assist the VRA.

He explained that one of the weed harvesters would be stationed at Ada to help clear the weeds for efficient flow of water, which was necessary for power generation.

Capt Thompson added that although the maintenance cost of the machines were quite huge the VRA had undertaken to absorb them in the interest of efficient power generation for the country.

Dangers of aquatic weeds

The Technical Manager at the Kpong Generating Station, Korsi MacCarthy, who took the entourage through the power generation process, lamented the dangers the aquatic weeds posed to the Kpong Headpond.

He said sometimes they choked the headpond to the extent it necessitated the shutting down of some of the turbines.

Mr MacCarthy, however, gave the assurance that the boats would help to prevent such dire situations at the dam site.

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