The current water crisis facing the capital is far from over as four out of 12 filters operating at the Weija Treatment Plant in Accra remains dysfunctional.
According to Water Quality Assurance officer of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) Weija Headworks, Mr John Suobogbiree, the situation was increasingly accountable for limited production and intermittent water supply experienced in the region.
“Technically we have only seven filters operating now. Due to the high pressure on the remaining eight filters, we isolate one every month for cleaning which takes about eight days before coming into full operation and that sometimes leads to low pressure in water supply,” he explained.
The officer was speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday during a familiarisation tour of the facility by the Municipal Chief Executive of the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly (WGMA), Mr Patrick K.B. Kumor.
The paper gathered that the last filter got damaged in 2017 as several promises made by government to repair defects detected as well as re-construct earlier damaged ones had proved futile.
The filters remove impurities from water by means of physical barrier, a chemical or biological process. The cost of replacing the broken down filters is estimated at $35 million.
Mr Suobigbiree feared the worst if urgent steps were not taken to avert a possible breakdown of remaining filters insisting that, “the plant was originally designed with 12 filters to take the volumes of water coming in and authorities are aware of the damage.”
“Several contractors have been here for feasibility studies but we are yet to get a positive response,” he lamented.
On the issue of recent power outages, the officer pleaded that the power distributors considered exempting the GWCL from power cuts as it had a toll on water productionsaying, “it takes us about an hour to get water to reach expected pressure levels to distribute after an outage so we are pleading that they exempt the production sites from power cuts.”
He also urged residents encroaching on the dam’s buffer zone to take caution as water spillage was imminent with the “onset of the rains.”
The MCE of the WGMA, Mr Kumor assured of taking urgent steps to avert a danger at the water facility indicating that “a report will be sent to the Presidency and the sector Ministry as soon as possible to draft a holistic approach to deal with this matter.
“We have been told a filter takes about eight to 12 months to be repaired and it is time we work on it now before another breaks down and water shortage hits us in the region.”
Mr Kumor warned of pulling down properties that had been put up in the dam’s right of way as well as embark on a rigorous exercise to improve sanitary conditions in the area to protect the Densu River where the dam draws its source.
“We have identified a landfill site around Weija called the Chinese pit for dumping of refuse so we have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to assess the place and by the end of April, we should operationalise so that people stop indiscriminate dumping,” he stated.
Deputy Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Weija-Gbawe, Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah, who accompanied the MCE on the tour, noted that the lack of consistent water supply could have a toll on the health of Ghanaians and urged that urgent steps be taken to save the dam.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH
Mr Suobigbiree explaining a point to Mr Patrick Kumor, MCE of WGMA and Tina Ayeley Mensah, MP for Weija-Gbawe during the tour.