The Bui Power Authority (BPA) has said it was against fishing in the buffer zone of the Dam and not the Dam itself.
Mr Wumbilla Salifu, Director of General Services, BPA, said fishing in the buffer zone could have repercussions on the operations of the Power Generating System and stressed that fishing in the Dam was allowed but not the buffer zone.
“BPA recognises that with the formation of the lake, it presents an opportunity for the fishing industry to boom, so the Authority has no objection to people carrying out lawful fishing activities in the lake,” he said.
“What we have a problem with is people wanting to stay within the buffer zone to carry out fishing activities. If you operate within a buffer zone, it has a lot of repercussions for the operations of the Dam and we as a people who have been charged with the mandate to manage the Dam need to be seen discharging that obligation for the benefit of the entire country.”
Buffer zones are land areas directly adjacent to lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, and wetlands among other water bodies.
Mr Wumbilla said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency when the Authority inspected its Corporate Social Responsibility projects in communities in the Bono and Savannah regions.
The Authority resettled some 1,216 individuals in the two regions during the establishment of the Bui Dam and Power Generating Station by the Government in 2007.
Mr Wumbilla said just as the Authority was attending to the socio-economic needs of resettled communities, it was important for it to ensure that the Lake, Dam and the land area acquired as part of the project were also protected.
“And so any activity that is inimical to the operation of the Dam, BPA will not allow that to happen. Because if we do that, then the mortgage access, which cost Ghana Government in excess of 800 million dollars, which we are all paying by way of our taxes, will not yield the desired results and as an Authority, we would have failed Ghanaians in discharging that responsibility,” he said.
Mr Wumbilla said at a full supply level, the reservoir could reach 183 metres above sea level and based on the provisions of the BPA Act and world accepted practice, it was unacceptable for people to settle or carry out activities within a buffer zone, which was about 200 metres away from the shoreline of the reservoir at its full supply level.
He said the Authority, as part of interventions to protect the Dam, planted trees at the shoreline and prevented people from resettling or carrying out farming activities there.
Some members of the community who tried to resettle close to the Dam were evacuated, he said, and that; “The idea was not for us to forcefully move them out but this is demonstrated by the fact that as far back as October 2019, we engaged them on several occasions and even gave them notices and an ultimatum. But all these did not yield the needed results. So we had no choice but to seek the assistance of the police and military to move them out.”
Mr Wumbilla said the Authority engaged in regular monitoring by a team and periodic drone camera monitoring to secure the Dam site.