Perennial flooding nationwide is expected to be given the needed attention following operationisation of the GH₵194m funds that were approved last year.
According to the Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, GH₵194m has been earmarked to undertake desilting works in regional cities and towns of the country.
Under the programme, contracts have been awarded for the channel improvement works to be carried out on some critical drains: including concrete lining of selected drains; reconstruction of selected culverts whose sizes are inadequate, and as such have become bottlenecks in the drainage channels; excavation to create channels in areas where channels are undefined; and dredging and desilting of silted channels.
Presenting a statement on the floor of the House to detail the flood relief works that his ministry secured with funding from government sources in 2018, the minister stated that close to eight regions will benefit from the actual concrete-lining drainage projects for 2019.
For the Greater Accra Region, sites including South Kaneshie Drain; Densu Downstream (Accra-Cape Coast road downstream); Teshie drains, Nungua drains; Kpone area drains, Korkordjor drains; Otinibi area drains, Nsakyi drains; Ashiaman drains, Tema Newtown drains; Kweiman drains, Dawhenya area and Prampram drains.
Others are: Katamanso area drains, Frafraha drains; Oblogo main drains, Haatso drains; Kwabenya drains and Taifa drains among others.
In the Ashanti Region, areas comprising the Kumasi Dichemso drains, Kumasi Adiebeba drains; Kumasi Chirapatre drains, Kumasi Aboabo drains and Atonso Aboabo drains are expected to benefit from these projects.
The Western Region also includes Takoradi Kwesimintin drains, Takoradi Ayire drains and Takoradi Anaji drains; whereas in the Central Region it is Cape Coast Holy Child area drains’ Winneba area drains; Kasoa Oboum road drains and Kasoa Okruru drains.
Eastern Region projects comprise Koforidua drains, Akwatia drains and Akyem Swedru drains; while Volta has Ho drains, Hohoe drains and Akatsi drains.
For Brong Ahafo, sites comprise Sunyani Chiramanfro drains, Sunyani Estate drains and Sunyani Penkwasi drains; whiles the Northern Region has areas such as Tamale Guamani drains, Tamale Gariba Lodge area drains and Tamale Central drains.
Other desilting works are also expected to be carried out in all ten regional towns and cities in the country.
The minister indicated that works have commenced and are ongoing for some of the drains, while on others the contractors are mobilising to commence work.
The ministry’s Hydrological Services has gone ahead of the Ghana Meteorological Agency to mitigate flooding this year in some of the flood-prone areas.
With regard to the Odaw River, which has been causing perennial flooding of parts of the nation’s capital, Accra, channel improvement works have begun on some sections of the channel.
These areas include Agbogba, Achimota, Legon, Westlands, Pantang. Other areas to be desilted include Haatso, Kwabenya, Kweiman and Oyarifa. Some of main tributaries of the Odaw River – such as South Kaneshie drain, Onyasia drain, Mukose drain and Nima drain – are to desilted.
The ministry has renewed the dredging contract for Messrs.Dredge Masters for two years. Under the renewed contract, Dredge Masters will dredge the lower section of the Odaw channel from Caprice to the outfall sea bridge, evacuate and properly dispose of the dredged material at a landfill site to prevent it from being washed back into the channel.
Other measures such as construction of detention ponds, flood-plain lowering channel expansion, flood-zoning and flood early warning systems are needed to mitigate flood risk within the Odaw catchment, he noted.
These measures, the minister explained are being considered under the Greater Accra Climate Resilience and Integrated Development Project (GARID) being supported by the World Bank, and which is expected to come on-stream by November 2020. This will give a permanent fix to the Odaw-Circle perennial flooding debacle.
Furthermore, he stated, the whole nation is being mocked by ancient drainage with sewage challenges, and “it is about time we took a bold decision to go to the capital market to secure long-term financial bonds to bankroll such huge infrastructure outlay”.
Ghana has come of age, and like other developed countries it should be a Ghana without open gutters and drains – given the fact that all filth and sewage should be underground to avoid environmental hazards, he stated.