Owabi Dam under threat from encroachers

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Reserved lands meant to protect the Owabi Dam located within the Atwima-Nwabiagya District in Ashanti Region are threatened by activities of encroachers along its banks.

The dam is the second largest source of drinking water for residents of Kumasi metropolis and other surrounding districts.

The Owabi Dam, which was constructed in 1928, was designed to produce three million gallons of water a day, but now it produces two million gallons a day to supplement the Barekese Dam, which produces 21 million gallons of water daily.

Currently, over 1000 acres of reserved lands along the banks of the dam have been encroached upon at Bokankye-Sennie, Adankwame, Apatrapa, Abrepo, Ohwim, Kokoso, Nyankyerenease, Atafua, Amanfrom, Sene, Adede, Penteng and Nkwantakesone.

The level of encroachment poses a great threat to the survival of the dam.

During a visit to the encroached areas, the Daily Graphic observed that developers were building houses, which were at different stages of development.

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According to a spokesperson for residents of Bokankye-Sennie, one of the affected communities,  Mr George Kofi Asabre, some of the traditional leaders had even sold lands earmarked for social projects such as hospitals, market, schools and other open spaces for social gatherings.

He lamented the indiscriminate sale of land along the reserved lands along the dam.

The spokesperson, therefore, called on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, and the government to, as a matter of urgency, intervene to avoid a possible disaster in the area.

When contacted, the Chief of Bokankye-Sennie, Nana Owusu Ababio, confirmed the sale of the lands but explained that the government had failed to pay compensation, hence the temptation for him to sell the lands.

He, however, indicated that following the decision by the Asantehene to fine him and the other chiefs in the surrounding communities for selling lands along the Owabi River in 2011, he had stopped selling the lands.

By Felix A. Baidoo/Daily Graphic/Ghana