Weija Dam spillage; many houses submerge in flood waters

Some of the flooded homes at Waija

Some of the flooded homes at Waija

Most houses along the Weija Dam in Accra have submerged in flood waters following the opening of all six spillage gates of the dam to shed excess water.

Access routes and various homes in communities including Oblogo, Ada Kope, Away, Tetegu and Weija Newtown, all in the Weija-Gbawe Municipality were submerged when the Ghanaian Times visited yesterday.

The Head of Communications at the Ghana Water Company Limited, Mr Stanley Martey confirmed to the Ghanaian Times that all six gates were opened at six inches wide due to high rise in water levels beyond the dam’s capacity.

“As we had indicated in an earlier alert to residents, we are experiencing heavy rains upstream which is putting intense pressure on the dam so we have to open all gates to spill water to save the dam,” he stated.

Noting that no damage had been recorded yet, Mr Martey said that the GWCL could not be blamed for any future occurrence as it had warned residents to vacate the area to safer places.

Some residents in an interview alluded to the fact that flooding had become an annual occurrence in the area blaming the situation on city authorities for allowing indiscriminate buildings along the watercourse thereby blocking free flow of water.

Madam Victoria Agbematsor who has lived in Weija Newtown for the past 20 years claimed that, “ever since we settled here our house never got flooded no matter how wide they opened the dam until recently.

“The city authorities for reasons best known to them have allowed people to build in the waterway forcing the water to divert to the homes of those of us who have built at right places. We saw this coming and raised red flags but they won’t listen to us.”

Asked why she failed to relocate to a safer place after admitting that she had received an earlier notice to do so, the 53-year-old woman indicated that she had no where to move to and hoped the waters would recede and not cause havoc to her and her properties.

The situation was not only affecting households as students at Away, a community in the Municipality, who schooled in adjoining communities had to be ferried to school on a canoe at extra cost.

Children had to pay between GH¢0.50 pesewas and GH¢1.00 cedis to cross the water to school with others who were scared of the danger resorting to stay home and shun academic activities.

“Before the spillage, we could walk to school but because they have opened the dam the water is too high this time, we cannot walk through so we pay for the canoe to take us to school,” Master Richard, a class six pupil of the Weija Anglican School told the paper.

The GWCL together with the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) on October 12 issued a flood alert to residents along the Weija Dam to relocate to safer areas as water in the dam had reached its maximum capacity of 48 feet.

The Ghanaian Times in July this year had reported that authorities at the dam site had opened three gates to spill excess water urging residents close by to relocate to safer areas.

The Ghana Meteorological Agency had prior to that warned of heavy rains across the country with the middle sector; Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Western regions being the hardest hit.

Spillage gates have remained opened since June this year when spilling begun posing threat to communities in the dam’s catchment area.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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