Owabi, Barekese dams endangered by encroachment

The Owabi and Barekese dams in the Ashanti region, which supply water to Kumasi and its surrounding areas could reach almost crisis levels if the encroachment situation there is not dealt with.

The human activity of encroachers including land development, farming and sand winning threaten the water supply to communities.

Supply capacity of Barekese is 30 million gallons and Owabi counts for 18 million gallons a day. Millions of residents depend on the two dams for water.

However, Owabi dam which used to be 21 feet deep is now only 6 feet deep which reduces its water holding capacity by two-thirds.

On a visit to the dams, Ashanti Production Manager for Ghana Water Company (GWC), Charles Tulasi, briefed a Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Commission (PURC) delegation.

He said, “their activity is having siltation on the dam and it’s also introducing pesticides into the water. The more pesticides they introduce; the more chemicals we have to use to remove those pesticides. So its increasing our production costs.”

Speaking about the Barekese dam he said, “right now we are doing 30 million gallons a day. In the future, the next five to 10 years if this situation continues instead of 30 million gallons a day, we’ll be doing half of it.”

PURC Commissioner, Maame Ofori Duffie, told Luv FM’s Prince Appiah that the almost crisis situation can potentially lead to tariff hikes.

She added, “it’s getting close to almost a shutdown. And so it is a very serious situation now because at the end of the day it impacts the cost of operations.”

She continued, “we are sounding the alarm now because very soon we will be struggling with water.”

Ghana Water Company says it is mobilising resources to begin the dredging of the dams.