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Ghana Hydrological Authority Bill goes through 2nd reading

BY: Samuel Duodu
Picture credit: hydrological-services-department.business.site
Picture credit: hydrological-services-department.business.site

The process to establish a state institution known as the Ghana Hydrological Authority (GHA) to deal with perennial flooding has moved a step further in Parliament.

Last Tuesday, the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, moved the motion for the second reading of the Ghana Hydrological Authority Bill, 2021.

The bill seeks to establish the Ghana Hydrological Authority as the state institution responsible for the planning, design, execution, operation and maintenance of flood control mechanisms, coastal engineering works, drainage improvement works, operational and applied hydrology.

Co-ordinated development

Mr Asenso-Boakye said the creation of a well-resourced and highly professional Ghana Hydrological Authority would not only attract and retain highly skilled staff, but would also ensure effective and well-coordinated development of drainage and flood management infrastructure in the country.

“The Authority will also be in the position to engage with development partners and explore sources of funding other than government of Ghana to undertake flood mitigation projects across the country while enhancing the resilience of our communities and essential infrastructure,” he added.

Mr Asenso-Boakye indicated that the challenges associated with the delivery of hydrological services had made it difficult for institutions that depended on hydrology related information for construction, irrigation, agriculture and maritime purposes to take full advantage of the Hydrological Services Department’s services.

Change

He expressed the urgent need for a fundamental change in the country’s approach in addressing hydrological challenges.

It was in that context that the minister said the establishment of the Ghana Hydrological Authority would go a long way to enhance existing hydrology and provide the essential technical leadership required to tackle drainage and sustain flood management services.

Investment

Mr Asenso-Boakye said the government for the last five years had committed some GH¢ 2.8 billion for drainage construction works and an additional GH¢150 million on drainage and their control works.

He said notwithstanding these investments there was the need for increased investment for drainage and coastal protection works.

Benefits

The Chairperson of the Committee on Works and Housing, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, who seconded the motion, said the bill when passed would minimise the incidence of flooding in the country while the issues of flood control infrastructure would be addressed.

Background

The Ghana Hydrological Authority Bill, 2021 was laid in Parliament on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, and referred to the Committee on Works and Housing for scrutiny and report in accordance with Article 103 (3) of the 1992 Constitution and Orders 125 and 180 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Pursuant to the referral, the committee met with the sector Minister, Mr Asenso-Boakye; his deputy, Abanga Abdulai; officials from the ministry, Hydrological Services Department, Water Resources Commission and officials from the Attorney-General ‘s Department.

The committee was assisted by other key stakeholders in its deliberations who submitted memoranda to the bill.

The bill that would establish the Ghana Hydrological Authority is expected to restructure the Hydrological Services Department, an agency under the Ministry of Works and Housing since 1995 to effectively perform its mandate.