By Seli Baisie | Photos courtesy Paul Nyamador
Residents in Mepe in the North Tongu district of the Volta Region are currently facing a major upheaval.
The recent spillage of the Akosombo Dam has led to the flooding of their homes, resulting in significant losses and the relocation of individuals to higher ground for safety.
This distressing situation has risen following the decision by the Volta River Authority (VRA) to release excess water from the Akosombo and Kpong hydroelectric dams. The move, while necessary for dam integrity, has unleashed a wave of challenges for the Mepe community and its environs.
The Human Toll: Losses and Displacement in Mepe
Farms, houses, and even cemeteries are now submerged in floodwaters. The inundation has disrupted essential services, leading to water and electricity supply cutoffs. As a result, residents find themselves grappling with the multifaceted impact of this flooding.
The Rationale Behind the Spillage
The Volta River Authority (VRA) cites the need for spillage due to upstream rains rapidly filling both dams to capacity. Despite their hydroelectric nature, engineers at VRA have highlighted the critical importance of managing water levels within the dams to prevent potential dam failure. This controlled spillage is deemed essential to safeguard the structural integrity of the dams.
Brief Notification and Affected Regions
While VRA claims to have notified residents along the Volta Basin about the impending spillage, local community leaders assert that the notice was inadequate. Residents of Battor, Mepe Adidome, Tefle, and Sogakope, down to Anlo in the Volta Region, reported not receiving the notifications.
Why Is VRA Releasing Water from the Dams?
The Volta River Authority (VRA) has stated that the spillage is necessary due to the “upstream rains filling the two dams.”
Despite being hydroelectric dams, engineers from the authority have determined that they have a capacity limit, and if the water exceeds this limit, the dams could potentially fail.
“The spillage will ensure the safeguarding of the dams’ integrity,” the authority stated in a released statement.
VRA began the spillage on September 15 as they observed rising water levels due to ongoing rains.
“As time goes on, we will gradually continue with the spillage because water continues to flow into the dams from upstream.”
Did VRA Notify the Residents About the Spillage?
While VRA claims to have informed the residents along the Volta Basin about the spillage, local community leaders say the notice was brief.
Residents of Battor, Mepe Adidome, Tefle, and Sogakope, down to Anlo in the Volta Region, stated that they did not receive the notification.
What is NADMO doing about the situation?
The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) in Ghana has been collaborating with other groups to evacuate hundreds of people who have been trapped in their homes due to flooding.
The flooding has displaced more than four thousand residents in at least nine districts in the Volta and Eastern regions, according to NADMO’s Deputy Director-General, Sedzi Sadzi. He added that some of the most affected areas include North Tongu, Central Tongu, and South Tongu districts.
“In these areas, nearly all the communities are submerged in floodwaters, and their roads have been cut off,” Sadzi said.