Plans are underway by the government to dredge the Owabi and Barekese rivers in the Atwima Nwabiagya South District, the Sanitation Minister, Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has disclosed.
“What is left is the feasibility studies, and fortunately for us, the studies are ready. The report is coming out in a week or two and then we will hit the road”.
According to her, the dredging works would commence with Owabi, adding that it had become necessary because of siltation.
“As you know, it was constructed with a depth of 22.5 feet and now we have 6 feet. So dredging is needed immediately so we are going to have it done,” she said.
Mrs Dapaah was addressing journalists after paying a working visit to the Owabi and Barekese dams which construction dated back to the 1960s.
Earlier, the minister visited the Oda River in Odaso in the Ashanti Region where she lamented about the fact that about 140,000 people were being deprived of safe potable water in the Obuasi Municipality and its surroundings areas because of galamsey activities.
She attributed the worrying situation to galamsey activities on the Oda River in Odaso in the Obuasi Municipality which was not making it possible for the Ghana Water Treatment Plant close to the river to operate at full capacity.
“Looking at the fact that the capacity of the water treatment plant is four million gallons of safe water a day, instead it is doing one million gallons for the whole of Obuasi and its surroundings all because of galamsey on the river which is worrying,” she bemoaned.
She was sad at the state of the river which provided potable water for thousands of residents in Obuasi and its satellite communities.
“We have all seen the state of the Oda River and it is not only bad but a very worrying spectacle,” she lamented.
According to her, due to the unhealthy state of the river, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) with its water treatment plant sited at Odaso incurred a huge cost in treating the water for consumption.
Pollution of rivers
“As a result of galamsey which has polluted the river, the treatment plant of GWCL in Odaso does cleansing of the water on a monthly basis, which hitherto, was done once in a year. And this comes at a huge cost to the water company,” she said.
Consequently, Mrs Dapaah emphasised that the destructive nature of galamsey enjoined “all of us” to speak out against it and support the President’s war on galamsey.
“We must not sit aloof but all of us with one voice must speak against galamsey which continues to destroy our water bodies,” she stated.
She said her interactions with residents of Odaso indicated that they were constantly being threatened with machetes and locally manufactured guns by the ‘galamseyers’ when they spoke against the canker.
Threat to citizens
She, therefore, lashed out at the ‘galamseyers’ for arrogating to themselves powers to the extent that they could even threaten law-abiding citizens who spoke against their evil deeds.
“In fact, the residents were not the only ones threatened by the ‘galamseyers’ but also GWCL officials who also complain are being threatened with machetes and guns by the illegal miners”.