Farmers benefitting from the Dawa Irrigation Dam in the Ningo Prampram District in the Greater Accra Region have appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, reinforce the retaining walls of the facility to save it from breaking.
The farmers who spoke to the Daily Graphic last Friday, said the dam which was rehabilitated and handed over some three to four years ago was not strong enough following the gradual erosion of the embankments.
They said the dam’s walls had become narrow and had developed some huge cracks, which if not remedied could culminate in the flooding of nearby farms and cause disruption of socio-economic activities in the area.
The Dawa Dam is a project funded from Ghana’s oil revenue. The farmers spoke of the precarious nature of the dam during a field trip conducted by Oxfam as part of its Extractive Industry Governance programme.
Being implemented in partnership with the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), the trip was to track the impact of projects funded with petroleum revenues and to ascertain how maintenance was factored in the project implementation process as well as how the project had been of benefit to the community.
Mr Samuel Ayeh, a farmer, said the dam was very useful to the community because it was the main source of water for their farming activities, but now the dam wall was very weak and they feared it might break if not reinforced.
Mr Ayeh, the immediate past assembly member for the Dawa Electoral Area, said the dam wall had become too narrow and weak with erosion setting in very fast, and that they feared that if maintenance works were not carried out to reinforce the structure, it might collapse.
He said in 2012 the dam malfunctioned when parts of its wall collapsed but after several appeals by the community, the government awarded it to a contractor for the reconstruction of the dam’s walls.
He, however, noted that after three to four years, erosion had set in and exposed the dam to danger, adding that if the damage was not repaired, a number of farmers would be rendered jobless.
The Executive Director of ACEP, Mr Benjamin Boakye, said it was expected that the rehabilitated dam would last for 50 years, however, it was unfortunate that three to four years down the lane, some damages had been witnessed on the structure.
He explained that the situation could be as a result of poor supervision, and stressed the need for officials to demand quality delivery of projects.
“We need dams like this to serve the purpose for which they were constructed over a longer period of time but it doesn’t look like we are getting that value for money with dams of this nature because of the quality of the delivery.
“The media and civil society organisations have the duty to monitor the efficiency of projects such as this to ensure that contractors deliver the quality expected of them for projects that can meet the purpose for which they were constructed,” he said.
According to him, although systems existed to ensure that projects were delivered to specification, engineers and contractors were not being efficient at monitoring to ensure that the quality met approved standards to sustain the projects.
He proposed that perhaps CSOs and individuals must begin to sue engineers and contractors to send a signal to them that they could not continue to deliver poor quality jobs and get paid.
The Vice-President of Oxfam America, Ms Fatema Z. Sumer, said it was important that farmers’ voices were heard by the government to make sure the money from oil revenue was being spent well.
She said the role that ACEP was playing was important to ensure that the government was accountable and transparent.