A dredging exercise aimed at mitigating the impact of floods in the tributaries of the White Volta is under way in the six regions of northern Ghana.
The effort is to relieve communities near the river banks on the effects of the annual spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso.
The Emergency Flood Mitigation Project is being implemented by the Water Resources Commission (WRC) and supported by the Water Research Institute, Hydrological Services Department and the 48 Regiment of the Ghana Armed Force (GAF).
The dredging exercise is under the auspices of four Ministries – the Ministry of Agriculture (MoFA); Environment Science, Technology and Innovation; Sanitation and Water Resources; and Works and Housing.
Mr Aaron Aduna, the White Volta Coordinator, said the exercise is currently focused on the Sicily River, which forms the boundary between the Upper West and Upper East Regions, to Kulpawn to the West and Nasia- Nabogo basin to the South-East of Bolgatanga.
He said the project is currently close to the confluence of the rivers with the first phase expected to end by December 2019.
Mr Aduna, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the flood mitigation project was part of government’s commitment to minimize flooding during heavy rains in the area.
He said the project would not only help minimize flooding but increase the capacity of the river channels to increase and sustain the flow of water.
“It would help reduce the impact of the annual concern not only on the people who continue to lose their lives, farms and property but will help to improve flow to downstream water users”, he said.
He said though it will not prevent the opening of the Bagre Dam, the increased capacity of flow will help curtail the annual flooding when the dam is spilled.
He said a sustained flow of the water would help stakeholders assess the effectiveness of the channels and by doing so other interventions would be implemented to harvest the water for other productive uses.
Mr Aduna said making water available for the people as provided in the Ghana Water Policy was important and the dredging would help minimize water quality challenges faced in the supply system and help the WRC mainstream the buffer zone policy where reforestation of the buffers will be considered so as not to revisit dredging in the near future.
“The rivers get silted because of land degradation and so if we keep protecting the banks and reducing the silt, it will take a long time before we have flooding issues again”, he said.