By Anthony Apubeo, GNA
Pwalugu (UE), Nov. 29, GNA - President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Friday cut sod for the construction of the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam and Irrigation Project in the Upper East Region to begin.
The ceremony has paved way for the Synohydro Power of China, a Chinese Construction Firm, to start work on the project, which would cost government nearly $1bilion ($993 million) and it is expected to be completed in four years.
The Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam is to be located on the White Volta River, on the boundary of the Upper East and North East Regions.
Speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony at Pwalugu in the Talensi District, President Akufo-Addo said the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam and Irrigation Project was the biggest single investment that any government had ever made in the northern part of Ghana and it was expected to promote sustained growth and development.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the project consisted of three main components including a dam with an elevation of 165 metres and maximum reservoir of 350 square kilometres.
It would also comprise a hydroelectric power generation house, consisting of two turbines with 60 megawatts of installed capacity and 16.5 megawatts of firm continuous capacity as well as an irrigation scheme consisting of 12 metres high and canal networks for about 25,000 hectares of land.
The President said, “on February 21, 2019, when I delivered the message on the state of the nation to parliament, I indicated the government must put in place plans to avert the perennial flooding caused by the spillage of the Bagre Dam, which results in the constant loss of lives and destruction of property in the northern sector each year.
“I said the construction of a dam in Pwalugu will serve as a receptor to hold large volumes of water spilled from the Bagre Dam, for irrigation purposes and the generation of electricity and will be the permanent solution the annual spillage and today we begin the process of realising this pledge.”
The project is expected to boost the growth of Ghana’s economy through increased solar energy supply and enhance agriculture production, thereby reducing imports and ensure effective perennial flood control especially from the spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, which occurs at the White Volta Basin during rainy seasons.
He added, “The 60 megawatts hydropower plant and the 50 megawatts of solar power plant would be the very first hydro-solar hybrid system in the country, with the two technologies complementing each other to provide reliable and stable electricity supply to the national grid”.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the Irrigation Scheme would be the largest in the country and would attract large-scale commercial farming supported by about 15,000 outgrow farmers.
The project has the potential to increase annual rice and maize production in the country up to 117,000 tonnes and 49,000 tonnes and reduce imports of the grains by 16 per cent and 32 per cent respectively, he added.
“Additionally, the Pwalugu reservoir can accommodate up to 125,000 cages of 25 square metres each of fish which would continue to boost the aquaculture and fisheries sector and this project would further boost our effort to realising the One District, One Factory as it will feed the Pwalugu Tomato processing factory.”
President Akufo-Addo said the irrigation component of the project would further boost and strengthen the gains already made in the government flagship programmes, such as One Village, One Dam and Planting for Food and Jobs.
He stated that government was committed to employing agriculture, agric–based industry and infrastructure as key to transforming the fortunes of the northern part of the country, ensuring all year agricultural activities, creating employment, improve food and nutritional securities and reduce poverty.