AKOSOMBO DAM CAN NEVER BE SHUT DOWN – VRA
The Volta River Authority has disclosed that under no circumstance, real or imaginary, will the Dam be shut down, arising out of the current energy crisis. This is notwithstanding the fact that the dam is at its lowest level ever since its construction. Apart from electricity, a shut down of the dam will also affect water supply as the dam serves as the source of water supply to the Kpong head works.
Making the disclosure to a five man news team from Happy 98.9 Fm during a duty tour of the dam site, Mr. Kirk Koffi, the Director of Hydro Department at the VRA noted that people don't understand the technical issues surrounding the generation of power.They are just making what he describes as "senseless and baseless suggestions", some to the effect that the dam should be shut down completely.
Mr. Koffi used the occasion to call on journalists, politicians, and social commentators to visit the site to see and hear things for themselves before they sit in the comfort of their homes, offices, and press houses to make unwarranted, baseless, unsubstantiated and unscientific suggestions and arguments.
On whether they are hiding something from Ghanaians on the true state of affairs by singing to the tune of government, he said they have competent personnel who have outlived successive governments and are thus only giving us expert advice. The VRA is under no pressure from government to run the turbines. It is they that advised the government to shut down the four turbines that are currently not in use. Mr. Koffi said the two turbines that are in use now go about twenty feet deeper than the other four. He said government listens to their advice and that is how come it is spending so much on emergency power generation to ensure that the dam is not over stretched.
The Director of hydro, who said he had worked with the VRA for about twenty-six years, cautioned people not to exaggerate the crisis, noting that the problem is not peculiar to Ghana. Most countries within the sub-region, including Nigeria and La Cote d'Ivoire are suffering from similar situations.
He rebuffed claims that the construction of a dam by the Burkinabes on the Volta River is what has accounted for the low inflows into Akosombo. Tagging the assertion as baseless, he noted that the power generated by the Burkina dam is insignificant, only about twenty (20) megawatts.
As to whether the construction of the Bui Dam will not have any adverse consequences on Akosombo, he explained that it is in the stage of impounding water into Bui that some minute ripples will be felt. He therefore advised that the timing of that phase of the project should be timed well. After that stage however, the Bui dam will rather strengthen the already existing system.
On the issue of whether there is any hope of an end to the crisis, he assured Ghanaians that there is no cause for alarm. This is because figures available to them indicate that there is a rise in the tributaries of the rivers that feed into the Akosombo Dam. Using graphical illustrations, it was seen that there is no regular patterns of inflows into the lake at any particular time. What is assured is that the level of the water in the dam rises every September. He reiterated again that the dam will never be shut down and that at worst, they will operate one turbine
He advised the general public to assist in finding an end to the crisis by adhering to the energy conservation measures like switching off their lights when not in use, and also by using energy saving bulbs.
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