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17.03.2007 General News

Rains raise false hopes

By s say the Volta River Authority currently spends about $309 million dollars a month on crude oil to power the Aboladze Thermal Plant, which augments supply from the Akosombo and the Kpong hydro stations.

Yesterday's rain and showers in Accra and other parts of the country may have lifted the hopes of many that a lifeline for the Akosombo dam is in sight.

However, a weather expert says they made very little impact on the fortunes of the dam, whose low water level has resulted in the rationing of electricity supply in the country since last August.

Juati Ayilare, Officer-in-charge of the Kotoka International Airport station of the Ghana Meteorological Agency, said that the showers were the result of a "storm that grazed the coastline.

"It has only brought about some cooling effect along the coast and has no bearing on the Akosombo dam," he said, but added that within the next two to three weeks, rainfall is expected in parts of the Western, Central and Eastern regions.

Mr. Ayilare said rainfall in the Afram Plains, will be of some significance to the dam, because the area is within the catchment of the dam, from where it receives its water supply.

He noted that rainfall in the northern regions, the major source of water supply to the dam, is likely to begin between April and May.

He was, however, unable to forecast the intensity of the rains in the north when the season sets in.

The Akosombo dam built in 1961 relies on water from the Volta Rivers and its tributaries for hydro power.

The dam's water level as at yesterday stood at 238.33 feet, which is below the minimum operating level of 240 feet. Any further slump to 235 feet will lead to the closure of the dam.

In the event of the dam's closure, the country will be deprived of its main source of power and will have to rely on more expensive alternatives which can partially meet its energy needs.

Mr Ayilare called for diversification into other energy sources by the nation to meet its future energy needs. The current global climatic changes are affecting rainfall pattern, which, he said, "makes it risky to rely on the rain for our energy needs."

Sources say the Volta River Authority currently spends about $309 million dollars a month on crude oil to power the Aboladze Thermal Plant, which augments supply from the Akosombo and the Kpong hydro stations.

Source: Ghanaian Times

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