Gov’t plans work on major Accra drains …but Works and Housing Minister insists GH¢5.5m budget too small

Works and Housing Minister Samuel Atta Akyea has said the GH¢5.5 million budget allocation to work on a number of critical storm drains ahead of the rainy season this year is woefully inadequate and might not serve the intended purpose.

Appearing before Parliament on Wednesday to answer questions on the negative impact of flooding in the country, Mr. Atta Akyea bemoaned what he described as paltry the allocation made in the 2018 financial year to undertake these short-term measures.

Some of the short-term measures that have begun, he said, include dredging or desilting drains in South Kaneshie, Awudome Cemetery area and including the Ring Road West roadside drains, Adabraka-Odawna drain to outfall into the Odaw drain, and culvert at Agbogba and Gbawe Electricity sub-station area.

Other drains include those located in Santa Maria, Sowutuom, Madina Maaye Hot, Roman Ridge, Haatso-Papao, West Legon Pipe, Madina Ritz Area, Gbawe-Lafa, Ashiyie culvert, Dome Market, North Legon and Lapaz.

The choking of storm drains with silt and refuse has largely been responsible for Accra’s perennial flooding and the Minister was not enthused with the budgetary allocation expected to undertake dredging and desilting of these drains to avert the annual floods.

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According to Mr. Atta Akyea, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, as well as all the MMDAS in the region, have to undertake short- to long-term measures to reduce the risk of flooding.

Medium-term measures also include: dredging and desilting of drains and the flood retention basin/ponds and removal of all obstructions; construction of new drains and sea defence structures; reconstruction of poorly-functioning drains; and revision of existing Land Use and Spatial Plans.

He also added that long-term measures consist enforcing planning and land-use control regulations; enforcement of buffer zones; and extension and full implementation of land use and drainage masterplans.

“In arriving at the total cost to mitigate the impact of flooding in Accra, there is need for a feasibility study. Currently, one feasibility study is ongoing covering only the Odaw River basin. I will make it available to this august House as soon as the figure is available.”

Flood management, the minister said, is an integrated effort and is capital-intensive – which includes both structural and non-structural infrastructural facilities to provide protection and security of lives, livelihoods and properties.

“The strength of our economy will ultimately determine how fast we roll out resilient infrastructure to give a permanent fix to this ever-mocking situation – perennial flooding,” he added.

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