President John Agyekum Kufuor Tuesday performed a colourful ceremony to divert the flow of the Black Volta to commence the actual construction of the Bui Dam project.
The river diversion stage, which was completed one month ahead of schedule, marked the end of phase one of the project and begins the preparatory stage of phase two, which is the actual dam construction.
The construction of the main dam and its appurtenant structures include spill way, power intake and power house.
President Kufuor, who inaugurated and cut the sod of the Bui Hydro Power Project in August last year, said the dam, when completed, would build up Ghana's energy capacity.
He added that the proposed Bui City, which is also to be constructed alongside the dam to accommodate over 500,000 people, would become a world-class tourist centre.
According to President Kufuor who chairs the Bui Power Authority, the project would be one of the biggest legacies of his eight years" presidency.
He has instructed management to select an appropriate site to erect the monument of the Late Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, former Finance Minister, for the singular role he played in making the Bui Power Project a reality.
He also assured residents affected by the project that the appropriate compensations would be paid to them as they would also be resettled in more comfortable abodes.
The President thanked the Chinese government for funding the project and also providing the human and technical expertise in partnership with its Ghanaian counterparts.
Energy Minister Felix Owusu Agyapong, said the 400 megawatt capacity hydro project "is considered to be the most technically and economically attractive hydropower site in Ghana after the Akosombo and Kpong Power Plants.'
He said, 'even though the project is designed primarily for hydro power generation, it also has a potential of irrigating over 30,000 hectares of land for agricultural development.
According to him, upon completion, the Akosombo Dam will serve the Southern Sector while the Bui Dam provide energy to the Brong Ahafo and the three Northern Regions as well as exporting some power to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire .
The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Wee Wan Chan, said that the Bui Hydro Power Project carries the dream of the government and the people of Ghana and will serve as the lasting solution to the perennial energy problem in the country, upon completion.
He noted that China and Ghana are committed to forging a new partnership that will translate into the socio-economic advancement of Ghanaians.
The construction of the Dam is costing the government of Ghana $60million out of the total project cost of $622m, largely funded by the Chinese government. It is expected to be completed and commissioned in December 2012.
President Kufuor, who also toured some parts of the area, has presented hospital equipment to the Nsawkaw Hospital in the Tain District of the Brong Ahafo Region. The items, worth 80,000 Canadian dollars, were donated by the Ghana High Commissioner to Canada, Margaret Amoakohene. They included operating tables, threatre lamps, surgical glass, wheel chairs, emergency equipment and beds as well as mattresses.