Cities around the world are facing threats of rising sea levels and frequent severe flooding. A couple of cities have mastered the task of tackling floods successfully, hence managing the Akosombo Dam spillage effectively and addressing the associated challenges should not be that messy, we knew the spillage of the Bagre dam takes place in either the month of August or September every year when Burkina Faso have excess water. we knew the water level is arising, a clear indication that Volta River Authority (VRA) must start releasing the water gradually. Unfortunately, the untimely and inability to manage the excess waters has led to serious flooding along the volta basins.
To tackle this multifaceted challenge, a comprehensive and coordinated approach is required by the Volta River Authorities, the country pays them well, hence should expect them to do better.
One of the fundamental aspects of managing the Akosombo Dam spillage is the need for vigilant monitoring. The Volta River Authority (VRA) must closely track water levels and weather forecasts to predict potential spillage accurately. This proactive approach ensures that spillage is controlled and gradual, allowing downstream areas to be adequately warned and prepared. It is not enough to continue saying we warned those along the riverbanks without providing them alternative shelters.
Regular maintenance and inspection of the dam are crucial. The structural integrity of the dam must be maintained to prevent unexpected issues that could lead to uncontrolled spillage. By addressing maintenance needs promptly, the risk of uncontrolled spillage can be significantly reduced. Given the current harsh climatic changes, the dam's managers should remain vigilant to avoid disastrous scenarios such as flooding towns along the rivers, like Mepe, Battor, Aveyime Sogakope the Ada townships, being washed into the sea.
When I read in the news that there is light off (Dumsor) in most of the major cities due to lack of gas to fuel the generators at the same time we are spilling excess water it tells we aren’t ready for the twenty first century.
As a matter of facts, the excess water should be a blessing not a curse, it can be used for hydroelectric power generation to meet increased energy demands during the rainy season. Multiple smaller dams, like the Kpong Dam, could be built to make use of the excess water and generate additional power. Excess water can be directed to irrigation systems to support year-round farming, enhancing food security.
Upstream, reservoirs and water storage systems can be expanded to capture and store excess water for future use.
VRA's Effective Reaction:
The Volta River Authority should have a well-defined emergency response plan for spillage events. This plan should include communication strategies, coordination with local authorities, and well-practiced procedures to respond swiftly and effectively. Regular training and drills for VRA staff and local responders can improve readiness and ensure that all parties are well-prepared to manage spillage incidents.
Learning from Other Countries:
Studying flood management practices in countries with a history of effectively dealing with floods, such as Hamburg and Amsterdam, can provide valuable insights. These regions employ strategies like flood defences, early warning systems, and urban planning to mitigate the impact of floods.
Hamburg’s Dikes and Riverbanks:
Adaptive Dikes and Riverbanks: Hamburg has invested in adaptive dikes and riverbanks, which can be raised or lowered depending on the water levels. These barriers provide versatile flood protection and can be adjusted to manage fluctuating tides and precipitation.
Amsterdam's Polder System
The city's approach to flood prevention includes, Polder Systems: Amsterdam utilizes a polder system, where land is intentionally reclaimed and managed in sections known as polders. These polders have their water levels controlled, providing a reliable means to manage excess water during heavy rainfall or flooding.
Implementing similar strategies and best practices from these countries can significantly enhance Ghana's flood prevention and mitigation efforts.
Donation for Flood Victims:
Flood events often result in the displacement of communities and individuals. To provide immediate relief to flood victims, donations should be directed toward hygienic items, shelter, food, clean water, and medical assistance. These essentials help mitigate the immediate impact of flooding on affected populations.
Long-term support for flood victims should include initiatives aimed at rebuilding homes and infrastructure. Additionally, efforts should be made to help affected communities become more resilient to future floods through disaster risk reduction programs and community development projects.
Help for Flood Victims:
Community-based disaster risk reduction programs are invaluable in helping communities prepare for floods and respond effectively. These programs educate residents on disaster preparedness, evacuation plans, and response protocols.
Without science, without data, we can use the Bagre dam as an indicator, the excess water results in flooding in low lying communities in Burkina Faso and Ghana, eventually the excess water will ultimately affect communities located downstream the White Volta and excess water flowing into the volta lake.
It is true that these days only few people think for the masses, let’s look for them to think for us, hence one day the whole of Tema and Accra shall be wiped into the sea.
Desmond John Beddy