The fate of the Weija dam(which is the most important Dam in Accra) is one that needs to be decided and acted upon as quickly as possible, else a major negative impact will be experienced. This is following some unfavourable human activities which are gradually encroaching upon the water and making it less potable. For years the dam has provided succour for the inhabitants of Accra region and beyond; it was cleaned and treated moderately with little or no worries attached. In recent times, however, given the rise in population as well as rural-urban migration, the dam has seen a major deterioration that is almost becoming an epidemic.
The dam which was constructed in 1978 has always served as the primary source of water in the Greater Accra Region, supplying up to 80% of water in Accra, unfortunately, it is losing so much even as it’s banks keep closing in. This is as a result of activities such as dumping of both industrial and domestic waste into the dam. More so, surrounding communities use it as not only a place of refuse disposal but for other commercial activities that do no good to the water.
One of the reasons for which parts of the dam has become a refuse dump is the presence of police checkpoint and traffic jam which has led to the increased presence of roadside vendors who tend to sell all manner of things including edibles. These vendors take advantage of the traffic to sell their wares and rubbish is generated from this. Also, most residents around who have come to call areas close to the dam home, tend to use it as an outlet for their faeces. All these activities are gradually destroying the dam. To add there has been a break out of some unpleasant diseases in the area as well as on those who depend on the dam for water.
Attempts to Save the Weija Dam
Although before now there have been attempts to rescue the dying dam, only very little was achieved. The first attempt made at saving the dam was through the use of security operatives who were brought to keep the dam in check, but they were seen off following court injunctions gotten against them.
Also, there were attempts to fence the water which ended up with nothing to show as some land guards kept demolishing it. According to the Communications Director of the GWCL, Mr Stanley Martey, while speaking to the Daily Graphic, “these men come in at odd hours to break down every single fence we put up to protect the dam.”
Also, regular attempts are made to clean up the dam and keep it in shape. It should be noted that the Ghana Water Company Limited who are also operators of the Weija treatment plant reportedly spends over GHS 40,000( forty thousand Ghana Cedis) every day to cater to the dam before distributing it to customers. From this figure, analysts can see that the treatment of water from Weija far exceeds the cost of what it takes to treat water from Kpong.
One of the factors that have made it painstakingly hard for the dam to maintain a pollution-free content is the incessant use of harmful chemicals by fishermen who have thrown caution to the wind all in the name of catching more fish to quickly to make profit.
Being a major source of water supply in Accra, anything that happens to the dam will definitely affect a lot of people.
The major effect these negative activities could cause the dam is its shrinking off with time. This is mostly as it is being pushed further and further.
More so, it has made the treatment of the water to be very expensive. According to Mr Martey, the cost of treating water has gone up in the last four years by as much as four times.
There are in fact, indications that the cost may even get much higher with time if the negative activities affecting the dam are not stopped.
As the Weija Dam keeps going off, its future lies in the Ga South Municipal Assembly which has the power to enforce laws against encroachment to take a strong stance that would change everything.