The Vice President, Dr Alhaji Mahammudu Bawumia, has given the assurance that the government would treat the reconstruction of the broken retaining walls and other parts of the Tono Irrigation Dam as a priority.
Following two weeks of torrential rains recorded in the Upper East Region in early October 2019, parts of the Tono Irrigation facility including the retaining walls, the spillway, the dam floor and the embankment got washed away, causing the water to overflow the laterals and canals.
The spilled water and the heavy rains then submerged about 850 hectares of farmlands including rice farms which were under cultivation.
Dr Bawumia said the design and technical aspect of the affected areas of the project would change to ensure that the structure was strong enough to withstand the pressure that comes along with heavy rains and prevent crops from being destroyed by floods.
The Vice President gave the assurance at Tono in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal of the Upper East Region, during a visit to the project to assess the extent of damage the torrential rains caused to the project and sympathised with families who lost their relatives and property as a result of the rains.
The Vice President indicated that the project was the life wire of the people in the area and promised to work hard in collaboration with the Ministries of Finance, Food and Agriculture and Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, to ensure that measures are fast-tracked to have the broken parts rehabilitated before the next raining season.
The Tono Irrigation Dam constructed in 1975 and currently under rehabilitation could irrigate an area of about 4,000 hectares of farmlands, however, as a result of the breakdown of the major canals and laterals that carry water from the dam to farmlands, only 2,490 hectares of farmlands are being used.
The project, when completed, would not only boost agriculture production in the Kassena-Nankana and Builsa communities but is expected to feed the new water treatment plant under construction at Tono which would supply treated water to Navrongo, Paga, Zuarungu, Bolgatanga and their environs, by the Ghana Water Company Limited.
Mr Sebastian Bagina, the Operations Manager of the Irrigation Company Upper Region (ICOUR), who described the rains as unprecedented, indicated that the spillage this year started in August through to September and October and caused the spillage height to rise to about 180.7 metres above sea level and a column of about 1.48 meters above the crest leading to so much runoff.
He said, "From 7th to 9th October 2019, it rained every day and on the 11th night it rained throughout, giving a record figure of 300 millimeters of rainfall and that caused damage to the turbulence and dislodged all the retaining walls of about 50 to 100 meters down."
The Operations Manager indicated that if the damage was not repaired before the next raining season farming within the area would be adversely affected.