Dr Moses Beckley, Director-General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, on Friday said that lack of inter-disciplinary approach and collaboration were impediments to effective flood mitigation in Nigeria.
Beckley made the assertion in Lagos at a Symposium organised by the Nigerian Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (NAEGE), Lagos Chapter.
The theme of the Symposium was: “Flood Control & Mitigation: Critical Appraisal of a Typical Lagoonal City’’.
Beckley, a Lead Speaker at the programme, said that flooding was a multi-disciplinary global issue that required government, stakeholders and multi-professional collaboration to proffer lasting solutions.
He said that the severe impact of floods, whether it happened as a result of climate change or otherwise, were most likely to be in urban areas where people, resources and infrastructure were concentrated.
Beckley said this would affect not only the resident population but also its industries, commercial ventures, livelihoods and ultimately, the potential for investment.
According to him, Lagos as a typical lagoonal city is constantly affected by flood, particularly during the rainy season, saying that positive mitigation measures should be readily available.
“Scientists predict that increases in average temperature and frequency of storm and flood events may induce even greater impact upon cities, especially those located proximal to the lagoon, riverbanks, in river catchments or along the sea coast.
“Although Lagos is naturally flooded during the wet season, the flooding is worsened by human activity and the subsidence induced by physical development.
“For many of us, flooding is no longer an emergency. It becomes a common disaster that must be taken account of in our development planning.
“The flood that we experience are mostly the negative aspect of unplanned development and this is leading to increased exposure of people to hazards and vulnerability.
“So, the concept of the safer city is encouraging for returns on long-term investments, business continuity and public safety,’’ Beckley said.
Contributing, Prof. Tamunoene Abam, National President of NAEGE, called for development of a policy framework and strict enforcement laws and regulations on flooding.
Represented by Mr Kayode Adeolu, National Vice-President of NAEGE, Abam said that a rapidly expanding city like Lagos with its high-density, presented a unique environment for attempting to develop flood risk policies.
“Government needs, therefore, to develop a policy on drainage and infrastructure improvement. Therefore, a comprehensive master plan for flood loss, prevention and mitigation is recommended for each city.
“The city plan should guide and control the development activities to flood risk, while spatial hazard assessments should be the basis of the planning,’’ Abam said.
Earlier, the Lagos Chapter Chairman of NAEGE, Mr Frank Ikuewan, said that there was need for adequate data documentation and planning in the management of flood risks.
Ikuewan said that data was key in the management of flooding, saying that data had been the major element lacking in flood management process in Nigeria so far.
According to him, for one to effectively plan and mitigate flooding; the data on the land level, land height and hazard map, among others, must be known to serve as guide.
Ikuewan was optimistic that the programme would come up with useful recommendations for the country to apply in the management and mitigation of flood risks.