THE Volta River Authority (VRA) yesterday held a workshop on Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) on the Akosombo and Kpong dams.
The workshop among other things, was to make known findings by the Association of Royal Haskoning of Netherlands and Norplan, Norway, consulting firms on the Authority’s preparedness in the event of calamities on the two dams.
The Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Engineering and Operations of VRA, Mr. Kirk Koffi said VRA had operated and maintained the two dams over the past 40 years without any major incident.
He said, however, that Authority was updating its operational procedures and policies in accordance with best practices in the industry, especially with respect to the recent spillage of the Akosombo dam.
‘In pursuance of this objective, VRA has over the last year engaged the Association of Royal Haskoning, of the Netherlands and Norplan, Norway to assess the safety of the two dams according to current design criteria as well as prepare EPP as specified in border environmental management plan’. He stressed.
“This workshop is a follow-up to the previous workshop, held in January this year, during which we interacted with stakeholders who would be involved in the implementation of the plan to obtain inputs and comments on the proposed plan’, he said.
Mr. Koffi noted that VRA is a member of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) and the World Commission on Dams (WCD) which seek to promote best practices for the operation of large dams.
“ICOLD recommends the development of EPPs to document and outline pre-planned actions to be taken in case of any emergency for large dams like the Akosombo and Kpong dams to guide all stakeholders including Regional, Municipal and District Administrations and emergency institutions like NADMO, Police and Army.” He said.
The leader of the delegation, Mr. Alex Hooljer commended the VRA and other stakeholders for sensitizing the public, particularly settlers along the Volta Lake before spilling water from the Akosombo dam.
Mr. Hooijer said in the event of any disaster or collapse of the two dams, at least 325,000 people would be affected with some displaced.
He advised that in the event of disaster, residents or settlers along the Lake should move to higher ground.