Water Resources Commission warns against putting structures on riverbeds, waterways

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Water Resources Commission
Water Resources Commission

Madam Dorcas Adwoa Paintsil, the Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission has urged the public to desist from putting up structures on riverbeds and waterways to avoid floodings and pollution.

She said floodings affected lives, livelihoods, and propertiy and that there was the need for the citizenry to be conscious of their activities of constructing buildings around rivers, streams and on waterways.

Madam Paintsil gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency when the National Planning Committee and partners organised a Webinar for knowledge sharing as part of activities of this year’s World Water Day.

The theme for this year’s Day was; “Accelerating Change” and the topic for discussion at the meeting was “Flooding and its impact on Water Quality.”

She said the theme was appropriate because globally the United Nations had charged all member states to ensure sustainable water and sanitation for all by the year 2030, adding that; “Research has shown that we are far from reaching the goal by 2030, and so there is the need to accelerate the change to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6).”

“So, what the Webinar wants to achieve is that people who have plots of lands or are going to buy land should ensure that they are not buying around river beds, streams, and avoid building on waterways to prevent floodings,” she stated.

Mr Sylvester Darko, Senior Hydrologist of the Ghana Hydrological Authority (GHA), in his presentation on “Implementation of Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS): The role of the GHA,” said floods in Ghana have become perennial challenge in the major cities and communities located in low-lying areas.

He stated that; “For example, Ghana recorded unprecedented flood event in November 2010, which affected 55 communities and displaced 700,000 people. Additionally, 3234 houses were destroyed while 23,588 acres of farmlands were submerged.

“The total cost of the flood was estimated to be US$116,340.22 (NADMO 2010). Moreover, on June 3, 2015, flood event led to over 150 deaths, massive destruction of property and economic losses.”

Mr Darko said for FEWS to play a role in the mitigation of flood in the country, set of capacities were needed to generate and disseminate timely and warning information.

“This will enable individuals, communities, and organisations threatened by a flood hazard to prepare and act appropriately in sufficient time to reduce the possibility of harm or loss,” he stated.

Mr Darko mentioned Volta and Greater Accra Regions which were undertaking some FEWS project.
He said FEWS-Accra under GARID-Project would provide flood early warnings/alerts to resident in Greater Accra living in flood-prone areas about an impending flood with adequate lead time(s).

He said it would be built on already existing and new improved systems and would be guided by Concept of Operation (CONOPS) for HYDRO, GMet, and NADMO.

He enumerated some of the benefits of the FEWS-Accra project as saving of lives and property and enhancing cooperation between upstream and downstream communities and stakeholders in sharing flood information in the flood management chain.

Mr Lumor Mawuli of the Water Resources Commission (WRC) who spoke on “Flooding in Ghana – WRC’s Coordination Role,” said there was the need for the Commission to lead in the integration of various systems and establish a Hydroclimate Database for Ghana and Volta Basin.

“The WRC should perform future hydroclimate forecast and water resources vulnerability assessment while developing various adaptation strategies to cope with the impacts of climate change and variability,” he stated.

Other members who contributed to the discussions were Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Joseph Portuphy, Deputy Director, Synoptic Meteorology and Forecasting of the Ghana Meteorological Agency, Madam Charlotte Norman, Director, Climate Change and DRR.

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