The Centre for Climate Change and Food Security (CCCFS) has urged government to initiate a criminal investigation targeting potential criminal negligence against persons with responsibilities to prevent or manage such disasters.
According to the organisation, the Volta River Authority should have put in place adequate measures to effectively preempt the “climate-change driven” upsurge in water in the dam.
“It is our view that the VRA, over the years, has become more reactionary rather than proactive,” the group said.
It stated that criminal investigation and subsequent prosecution would act as deterrence in the future.
“Without someone being held criminally liable for these destructions, the cycle will continue, unabated,” it added.
The Volta River Authority (VRA) commenced the spillage of excess water in the Akosombo and Kpong hydro dams on September 15.
While the current inflow to the reservoir is pegged at 400,000 cubic feet of water per second, the authority says it is spilling just about 183,000 cubic feet of water, and they cannot ascertain when the spilling exercise will be over.
Meanwhile, thousands of people living along the Lower Volta Basin have been displaced, with loss of property running into millions of cedis.
So far, nine districts have been affected by the spillage.
Some of the hardest-hit districts include the South, Central, and North Tongu districts in the Volta Region.
According to the CCCFS, government should explore ways to permanently relocate all persons living in water ways where spilled water go through.
“This must be prioritised as a matter of urgency. It is bemusing that for over five decades, we have become comfortable with this spectre, instead of stemming it once and for all,” it said.
It added that “Government should look at the possibility of expanding the dam or creating adjoining reservoirs to harvest excess water which could be used for other purposes, including agriculture. It thus appear that there’s no plan to enhance the capacity of the dam since its creation, and this raises questions about Ghana’s commitment to progress in our national life.”
The organisation further suggested that government establish a robust early warning system to properly estimate and prevent potential damages as a result of dam spillages both in southern Ghana and northern Ghana.
“As a matter of urgency, the Government needs to declare a state of emergency, given the sheer scale of the damage we are witnessing. This is necessary to assist us mobilise enough resources to adequately assist our compatriots who are reeling over this devastation,” it stated.