Cecilia Abena Dapaah

The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has said plans are far advanced to dredge the Barekese and Owabi Rivers in the Ashanti Region.

According to her, the construction will deepen the depth of the water level in the river.

“We will be dredging the Barekese and Owabi Rivers. We have the plan and we will start dredging soon as you know Owabi was constructed with a depth of 22.5 feet and now is six feet so dredging is seriously needed. We will award the contract for work to begin soon.”

She disclosed this when she and some Chief Directors from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and some officials of the Ghana Water Company visited the region as part of her four-day working visit to water bodies and water treatment plants in the Eastern and Ashanti Regions.

The visit is aimed among other things at assessing the state of water bodies and water treatment plants in the two regions.

At Barekese Water Treatment Plant, a documentary of the current state of the river and how some farmers have encroached the river banks was shown to the minister and her team.

She expressed excitement upon seeing the state of the dam, adding that a study must be done to increase the buffer along the river.

“Our problem at Barekese is the farmers who farm beyond the buffer but they have agreed to move back, when we get the studies ready then the buffer will increase to preserve the water body and this must happen within two to three months. And we will get constructors to start work on the project,” she said.

Also, in the early hours, the minister visited the Oda River where she hinted that over 150, 000 people living at Obuasi are not getting water due to the activities of illegal miners.

“The people of Obuasi and its surrounding depend on only one million gallons due to the galamsey activities while four million gallons are the required quantity to be produced per day, this is very worrying. The illegal mining activities taking place on the River Oda are the cause of the problem.

“Residents becoming the mouthpiece of the river will ensure galamsey activities are ended. We saw the 500-meter distance between the treatment plant. The Engineers see them all the time and I even heard they were here two days ago. When they complain the galamsay operators threaten them with guns and machetes so they also run for their lives.

“The river goes and joins the River Offin, River Pra so we are talking about a network, there is no aquatic life in there. Why should people living at the river banks import water? And this will come back to the girl child who will be carrying a tank to look for water. God has given us this whole beautiful river and look at what we have made of it,” she said.

She said Polima is also being used now which makes it more expensive to treat the water.

“They are doing their best but our support and prayers are needed and our commitment as a nation to help the president stop galamsey activities,” the Minister appealed.