THE Volta River Authority (VRA) has spent over GH¢310,000 since 1999 to remove aquatic weeds on the Oti arm of the Volta Lake, the Kpong head pond (dam) and the Lower Volta basin.
The weeds which include water hyacinth, fern, lettuce and hippo grass are alien invasive weeds which form large swathes or mats on the water inhibiting transportation and fishing in the lake, and causing loss of water quality.
The Principal Aquatic Biologist of VRA, Mr. Ulysses Ocran-Hammond, who disclosed this on Tuesday at a two-day workshop at Sogakope for stakeholders involved in the removal of water weeds said the exercise was to avoid the drifting of the weeds which had the tendency of spreading to the intake point of the Akosombo and Kpong Dam.
Mr. Ocran-Hammond said apart from the manual removal of the weeds, VRA also undertook biological control measure in its quest to get the weeds cleared to prevent it from affecting power generation from the dams.
He said another negative impact of the weed was serving as breading grounds for snails and other parasites which cause bilharzia among the people who live close to the lake.
Mr. Ocran-Hammond said as part of the control measures along the lake, VRA had embarked on an extensive sensitisation programme in the communities and appealed to hotel and restaurant operators along the lake to collaborate in clearing the water weeds.
He cited Kpong Waterworks as an example where overgrown weed could be found close to its intake. That, he said, could affect the water quality which may require more money for chemicals to treat the raw water.
Mr. De-Graft Johnson noted that the weeds had inhibited the free flow of river transport which hitherto was a means to cross to the either side of the lake.
He said the weeds are also inhibiting fishing activities citing the present situation at Jawe Warf in Jomoro District of the Western Region where weeds are taking over landing bays.
The Chief Programmes Officer of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Carl Fiati, said the workshop was to evaluate the group’s performance over the years and put mechanisms in place to meet the challenges.