…State partnering MDAs and agencies to put measures in place to avoid flooding
In a press briefing held on Friday, October 20, 2023, at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MOE & WR), Alausa, the Honourable Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, addressed the media on the current flood alert situation in the Lagos State, particularly along the basin of the Ogun River and the Lagoon coastline.
The Commissioner began by acknowledging the concerns and anxieties that have gripped the communities affected by the recent flooding. He assured the public that the Lagos State Government is fully equipped to handle the situation and its consequences.
“One of the key factors contributing to the flooding situation is the significant amount of rainfall. From January to October 15, 2023, there has been an abundance of rain in the area. The figures indicate that the total amount of rainfall recorded exceeds the average synthesized annual flow volume of 1770 million cubic meters against a gross storage of 2,274.0 million cubic meters. These numbers underscore the severity of the situation.” He said.
The commissioner proceeded to share specific statistics about the flow of water through the Oyan Dam in the past few months. In July 2023, 418.9 million cubic meters of water were released, and this number increased to 545.0 million cubic meters in August. September saw the release of 532.2 million cubic meters, and as of October 15th, the flow has been averaging daily releases of 23.2 million cubic meters, totaling 2,274 million cubic meters. Additionally, there has been significant rainfall in the region, with 203.4mm in July, 174.9mm in August, 362.6mm in September, and 170.8mm in October 2023.
Mr Tokunbo Wahab pointed out that as of October 15th, the peak of expected rainfall for October has already been experienced, and the inflow from the upstream is gradually reducing. This reduction will eventually alleviate the flooding issues in the upstream areas.
In response to this crisis, the Lagos State Government has taken a multifaceted approach to mitigate the effects of the flooding. This approach includes year-round drainage maintenance, reclamation of drainage right of way, and ensuring that waterways remain clear and efficient. The government has also initiated a comprehensive dredging program for the main river channels to enhance water flow and reduce the risk of flooding. Moreover, efforts are being made to improve flood prediction and early warning systems to keep citizens informed and safe.
He emphasized the importance of collaboration with the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority to manage the release of water from the dam more effectively. The government is also working closely with agencies such as the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NiHSA) to enhance their ability to respond to these kinds of situations.
Given that Lagos State is low-lying and vulnerable to coastal flooding, the government is actively planning for resilient infrastructure and sustainable land use practices. The flooding may persist for some time, but the government is confident that it will recede with time.
Commissioner Wahab concluded his speech by reassuring the public that the State’s flood control measures are proving adequate and are continually being improved to handle any unforeseen weather conditions. He highlighted the Ministry’s dedication to year-round drainage maintenance and dredging of primary channels.
Residents were also urged to report any cases of drainage blockages or the dumping of waste into canals and other unauthorized areas. The Commissioner encouraged residents to continue supporting the government’s efforts by keeping their drainage systems clear and by refraining from disposing of refuse into drainage channels and roads.
In closing, Commissioner Tokunbo Wahab expressed gratitude to the public for their attention and support during this challenging time, as the Lagos State Government continues to work tirelessly to address the flooding crisis.