Home » BPA CEO Warns of Illegal Activities Near Bui Dam

BPA CEO Warns of Illegal Activities Near Bui Dam

The Bui Power Authority urges the communities to protect the hydroelectric project from harm

by Victor Adetimilehin

The Bui Power Authority (BPA), the agency in charge of the Bui Dam, has expressed concern over the illegal activities taking place around the dam’s enclave. The BPA CEO, Mr. Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, called on the communities living near the dam to collaborate with the military and the BPA to safeguard the national assets from potential damage.

The Bui Dam is a 400-megawatt hydroelectric project built on the Black Volta River at the Bui Gorge, at the southern end of Bui National Park. The dam was commissioned in 2013 and provides electricity to millions of Ghanaians. It also facilitates the irrigation of about 30,000 hectares of land and supports tourism and fishing industries in the region.

The Threats to the Dam’s Existence

However, the dam faces several challenges from human activities that endanger its security and sustainability. According to Mr. Dzamesi, some of these activities include:

– Illegal mining: Some people have been mining for gold and other minerals in the dam’s catchment area, causing environmental degradation and water pollution. The BPA has reported several cases of illegal miners trespassing on the dam’s premises and damaging its equipment and infrastructure.

– Illegal fishing: Some fishermen have been using prohibited methods and materials to fish in the dam’s reservoir, such as dynamite, chemicals, and nets. These practices deplete the fish stock and affect the aquatic ecosystem. The BPA has confiscated and destroyed several illegal fishing gear and arrested some offenders.

– Illegal farming: Some farmers have been encroaching on the dam’s buffer zone and cultivating crops that require a lot of water, such as rice and sugarcane. These activities reduce the water level and quality in the reservoir and increase the risk of erosion and sedimentation.

– Illegal logging: Some loggers have been cutting down trees and clearing vegetation in the dam’s surrounding area, especially in the Bui National Park. This leads to a loss of biodiversity and habitat for wildlife, such as the rare black hippopotamus. The BPA has collaborated with the Wildlife Division to patrol and protect the park from poachers and loggers.

The Call for Action and Cooperation

Mr. Dzamesi said that these illegal activities pose a serious threat to the dam’s existence and urged the public to report any suspicious or unlawful behavior to the authorities. He also appealed to traditional leaders, opinion leaders, and civil society groups to educate and sensitize their members on the importance and benefits of the dam and the need to preserve and protect it.

He said that the BPA has invested US$1 million in the construction of a Forward Operating Base (FOB), a facility that provides support for military operations at Bui. The FOB, which was inaugurated in 2023, serves as a logistical hub, command center, and staging area for troops. It also houses personnel, equipment, supplies, and infrastructure necessary to secure the dam and its environs.

He said that the BPA is committed to ensuring the safety and efficiency of the dam and its operations, as well as the welfare and development of the host communities. Mr. Dzamesi said that the BPA has implemented several corporate social responsibility projects, such as providing scholarships, health care, water supply, sanitation, roads, and livelihood programs for the affected people.

He expressed his hope that the BPA and the communities would continue to work together to safeguard the dam and its resources for the present and future generations.

Source: Modern Ghana

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