15.11.2007 General News

Security to be increased at Weija Dam

By Daily Graphic
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The Government has announced plans to deploy security personnel to the Weija Dam site to stop the activities of the illegal stone winners there.

A meeting to discuss strategies for the effective deployment of the security personnel has been scheduled to take place Thursday between the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Works, Housing and Water Resources, as well as some officials of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).

The Works, Housing and Water Resources Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiqque Boniface, announced this when he visited the Weija Dam site Wednesday to get first-hand information on what was happening there, following media reports on the danger posed to the dam by the stone winners.

He said that the Government was sourcing ¢30 billion to fence the entire land area of the GWCL at Weija and to establish other security measures such as security gates and identity cards for GWCL staff.

At the site, the Minister said he was disturbed to observe that many private structures had been illegally erected very close to the site of a new reservoir that was being constructed to increase the water supply to the Greater Accra Region to 50 millions gal¬lons of water per day.

The proximity of the structures to the dam and to the new reservoir means that the water supply could easily be contaminated by waste materials thrown over the boundary fence.

The buildings are also so close to the boundary fence that the expansion of the plant has become restricted, thus limiting the potential of the dam and its water supply to meet the needs of the growing population of Greater Accra.

It was also observed that several homes had been built at the very edge of the upper river bank near the dam. The rocky nature of this area means that there is a high risk of any sewage from these homes flowing directly into the Greater Accra water supply system.

The minister said the danger posed to the Weija Dam water supply system had become a 'National Emergency', and urged those who had trespassed on GWCL land by illegally building there to leave immediately.

He said that the security personnel due to be deployed to the dam site would also assist in clearing GWCL land of trespassers and in the demolition of any illegal structures.

The minister said that the government had already informed the Local Government Ministry and the District Assembly of the need to clear the GWCL land of encroachers and provided the District Assembly ¢I bil¬lion two years ago for the purpose.

He said that the government would make every effort to pay compensation to those who would be affected by the land clearing measures and that the Ministry of Works, Housing and Water Resources was waiting for information from the Land Commission in order to determine who was entitled to it.

The Minister stressed the danger posed by the illegal construction and stone winning activities.

If the main water pipes leading to Accra were severed through negligence during the construction of new properties, he said, the water supply to the whole of Greater Accra could cease. He added that if the dam itself was breached, half of the city would be flooded.

The minister appealed to the general public to assist in encouraging people residing on GWCL land to vacate immediately.

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