The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has shut down two water treatment plants as a result of the flooding of the pump stations and damage to equipment.
The plants are the Akyem Oda Treatment Plant in the Eastern Region and the Jambusie Treatment Plant, near Wa in the Upper West Region.
The flooding in Oda was due to torrential rains and illegal mining, also known as galamsey, while rainfall, in addition to the spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, led to the flooding of the plant in Jambusie.
Damaged equipment arising from flooding and high turbidity has also resulted in a reduction in production of five other plants of the GWCL, thereby affecting water supply to their catchment areas.
The five plants are the Dalun Treatment Plant in the Northern Region, the Densuano Treatment Plant, which serves Koforidua and surrounding areas in the Eastern Region, the Daboase Treatment Plant in the Western Region and the Winneba and the Kwanyarko Treatment plants in the Central Region.
The Head of Public Relations and Communications of the GWCL, Stanley Martey, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the heavy rains and the spillage of the Bagre Dam had caused many dams and rivers from which the GWCL drew raw water for treatment to overflow their maximum limits.
For instance, he said, the Nawuni River, which feeds the Dalun Treatment Plant, and the Black Volta, which serves the Jambusie Treatment Plant, overflowed their banks, flooding the pump houses of the intake points and causing damage to some equipment and infrastructure of the company.
Furthermore, the company’s pump house at the intake point (abstraction point) of the Oda Treatment Plant had been flooded, causing damage to equipment such as electronic control panels and pumps, leading to its complete shutdown, he said.
Mr Martey said the shutdown of the Oda Plant had affected water supply to Oda, Akwatia and Kade.
He said residents of Koforidua were also experiencing low pressure in some areas of the municipality due to the flooding of the plant at Densuano.
“The flooding has affected all the equipment at the plant,” he added.
The Weija Dam is currently at 49.5 feet (ft), as against the maximum operating level of 48ft, and Mr Martey said spillage normally began when the level got to 46.5ft.
“As a result, four spill gates have been opened to safeguard the integrity of the dam, save it from collapse and save lives and properties,” he said.
He said in the Upper West Region, the Pump House at the intake of the Jambusie Treatment Plant got flooded and production had to be curtailed.
He added that the rains and the spillage from the Bagre Dam had caused a rise in the water level of the Nawuni River where water is abstracted at Dalun and treated for the people of Tamale.
Mr Martey said two transformers that fed the treatment plant got damaged and power to the plant was curtailed.
He said the challenges forced the GWCL to cut production at the plant, while engineers from the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) were assisting the GWCL to solve the power problem.
The Head of Communications mentioned similar challenges at Daboase in the Western Region, Winneba and Kwanyarko in the Central Region and other areas.
The Daily Graphic gathered that in the Western Region, the challenge had been worsened by the negative effects of galamsey, which had raised the colour and purity (turbidity) level of raw water.
Reports say that the colour of the Pra River, which feeds the Daboase Treatment Plant, has increased from the recommended five Hezen Units (Hu) to 9014Hu, while the turbidity has increased from five tbu to 3,000tbu.
As a result of galamsey activities, the GWCL is using more chemicals and energy to treat water, while spending so much to maintain its machines.
For example, due to the excessive pollution of the Bonsa River in the Western Region, the GWCL now uses 10 bags of alum a day for water treatment, up from the 1.5 bags it used in the past.
Again, at the Daboase Treatment Plant, excessive pollution has resulted in the use of 60 bags of alum a day, up from 20 bags a day in pre-galamsey period.
The management of the company has, however, assured the public and its customers that engineers of the company are doing everything possible to forestall further eventualities.
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