The government is taking steps to actualize the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam Project in the Upper East Region. The project, which is estimated to cost US$300 million, will start with the power component followed by studies on other areas including irrigation and flood control.
The government's strongest motivation in building the dam is to drive its district agricultural modernization, coupled with its resolve to fix Ghana's power and energy shortfalls.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mrs. Paulina Patience Abayage, said this at a press conference organised by the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council to inform the media about the works done so far.
Mrs. Abayage noted that the dam, when completed, would reduce the cost of power distribution to northern sectors of Ghana while industrialisation, modern commercial agriculture and value chain activities as well as the general socio-economic environment, would be given a push.
She also observed that the dam would be a vital catalyst in solving the perennial flooding in parts of the region, that lie within the flow-way of the Bagre Dam from upstream Burkina Faso. She disclosed for instance that, in 2018, 7,488.94 hectares of farms were destroyed by floods whilst livestock were carried away in the waters.
The formal groundbreaking ceremony for the construction works on the dam is expected to happen at the end of 2019, pledging the full cooperation and support of the chiefs and people of the region.
Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority, Mr. Emmanuel Anwti-Darkwah, for his part said the construction of the dam was within the mandate of the VRA to develop the hydropower resources of the Volta Basin.
Mr. Antwi-Darkwah revealed that the VRA started works on the Pwalugu Dam in the early 1990s when it conducted feasibility studies on potential hydro sites in the White, Black and Oti River Basins. However, the current project started in 2013 with financial support from Agence Francaise de Development of France and technical assistance from the World Bank.
He said the feasibility studies were completed in 2018 and that, the VRA had now moved into the implementation phase of the project, as the government had secured funding from the Synohydro of China for the execution of the project.
The dam will have an elevation of 165M near the Pwalugu Bridge on the White Volta River and with a maximum reservoir area of 350KM2. The project will also have a powerhouse consisting of two turbines with 60MW of installed capacity and 16.5MW of firm continuous capacity as well as, a 15KM overhead line for export of power to an existing transmission line. Also attached to the project, will be an Irrigation Scheme of 12M Heir Weir and canal network for 20,000Ha of land.
Mr. Antwi-Darkwah said the VRA was revising the Environmental and Social Impact Study to take account for the reduction in dam elevation from 170M to 165M so as to identify the precise nature of the project impact, including the number of households or people the project will affect. The VRA is also preparing an elaborate resettlement action plan in accordance with international standards to ensure that adequate compensations are paid to the affected.
Source: ISD (Peter Atogewe Wedam)