Dr Kwaku Wiafe, Director of the project

A report by the Volta River Authority has revealed the construction of the Pwulugu Multipurpose Dam is expected to displace over 4,200 people across 20 communities and affect over 3,200 farmers with an estimated 6761.5 hectares of farmlands.

Speaking to JoyNews, Director of the project at VRA, Dr Kwaku Wiafe, said that these farmlands and settlements after the construction of the dam and its downstream irrigation will experience flooding.

Thus, the Environmental Impact Assessment Report has designed a resettlement plan and compensation packages for affected communities and residents, he told JoyNews correspondent Eliasu Tanko.

“We are required by law and international practice to ensure that these people are not made worse off. In a sense, we have to resettle them and do so in a manner to ensure that their lives are better off.

“The idea is for all stakeholders to understand what we are proposing and also to bring their input. So far what we have now is a set of proposals now based on this engagement, we are now going to finalize the report,” he said.

The report outlined the packages planned for every affected person. Among the compensation packages for those to be affected, permanent residential dwellings will be replaced at the resettlement sites with land title, sanitation facilities will be provided by the project, temporal structures such as farm huts will be compensated in cash.

Compensations are expected to be paid for all lands and crops to the affected owners. Herdsmen will also be compensated for the loss of grazing land as well as those into shea nut collection and processing, small-scale mining and other micro-enterprises, the report added.

Under housing, infrastructure, and social services, the report said the following will be provided in both affected and resettlement communities. 

The construction of four CHPS compounds with staff accommodation, two health facilities at Wulugu and Samni, four kindergarten, four primary, and three junior high schools in addition to rehabilitation of six educational facilities in the affected districts.  

Borehole, toilet facilities, construction of feeder roads, 10 community centers, and five chiefs’ palaces, provision of markets, construction of six mosques and five churches, and many others will be provided.

There is also a Livelihood Restoration and Assistance Programs for all those to be affected.  The report stated that the project will be located between the Upper East region districts of Bawku West, Garu Tempane, Binduri, and Talensi and the Bunkrugu Yonyoo, West Mamprusi, and East Mamprusi municipalities in the North East region.

Dr Wiafe stated that the report was detailed to not only ensure that all persons in the affected areas are catered for but also the mistakes made during the construction of old dams like Bui, Kpone and the Akosombo dam are not repeated.

“As we indicated this will be a multi-agency type of approach because a lot of the areas that will be addressed go beyond VRA – issues of forestry, education, town and country planning, roads among others – all these are areas that have statutory organisations responsible for.”

“So we after we put the program together and put the budget to it, we will then work with the relevant ministries to ensure the resources are made available to address these issues so that at the end of the day we can have the resettlement program that we are all proud of.”

The Pwalugu Dam has been touted as the solution to the perennial flooding which ravages three regions in northern Ghana. 

The Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam

The Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam project will “store water for hydropower, for downstream irrigation and for flood protection for people living in the White Volta Basin”. This is according to the report of the Ghanaian parliament’s finance committee.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Pwalugu multipurpose dam has been awarded to Power China International. The Chinese company will build a 165 m high dam on the White Volta River in the Talensi district of the Upper East region. The structure will have a 350 km² water-holding reservoir. Below the dam, the company will build a hydroelectric power station equipped with two turbines. The turbines will have a combined capacity of 60 MW and a solid continuous output of 16.5 MW.

Part of the water from the reservoir will be pumped to supply a large irrigation system in northern Ghana. The Ghanaian government estimates the irrigation capacity at 25,000 hectares, benefiting 15,000 people living from agriculture. The project will thus enable the development of local agriculture, which is highly dependent on climatic conditions. The Pwalugu hydropower plant would be backed by another renewable energy source.

It is a photovoltaic solar power plant with a capacity of 50 MWp. The plant will be built in Kurugu, in the municipality of East Mamprusi, North-East region. 

“The 60 MW hydropower plant and the solar power plant will form the first-ever hydro-solar hybrid system in Ghana. The two technologies complement each other to provide a reliable and stable power supply to the national grid,” President Akufo-Addo said at the inception of the project in December 2019.