The rains have not taken easy on Lagosians in the past few days. It has been a tug of war between Osun (the river goddess) and Eko residents, or maybe Osun is not at fault? Perhaps, we’ve just failed to take responsibility.
It is that time of the year in Lagos when we have to paddle canoes to get to our homes. The time when our beds are drenched in water, lots of goods are damaged, human productivity is heavily impaired, and our health conditions heavily deteriorate. Flooding is becoming more frequent and affecting more people. The impact of the floods on individuals and communities cannot be overemphasised.
Communication links and power plants are destroyed when it floods, leading to economic standstills. Individuals are forced to leave their homes, disrupting normal day-to-day activities.
Oh, the consequences do end there. An under-recognised result of flooding is the trauma. People lose their lives and loved ones, the scenarios increase our stress levels. When it floods, nobody gains (probably, the mechanical engineer that fixes the cars destroyed by flooding).
Managing floods requires multiple engineering projects. Rivers and seas are unpredictable, and stopping the sea from flooding is not entirely possible, but the government can do tons of work to mitigate its consequences. To do this, the Lagos State government must implement “Flood risk management”. This system seeks to minimise the impacts of flood events on the people.
Staying atop flood management is education. Public officials, investors, and NGOs must ensure that those in the state understand the nature of the risks they face and the steps that may be taken to reduce them. Heavy rains create flooding situations which are very drastic and cause serious loss of life and money.
There is no way we can talk about the concept of flood management without engineering, and the number one is dam construction. Dam construction helps to regulate the flow of water in the seas.
Another method is channelisation. Floods can be managed by directing excess water to canals or floodways. These canals can, in turn, divert the water to temporary holding ponds or other bodies of water where there is a lower risk or impact of flooding.
The impact of trees in mitigating the risk of flooding is not discussed enough. The trees in our streets can serve as barriers to flooding water and prevent soil erosion.
It is not possible for all communities to seal themselves off from their environment, and learning to live with floods is inevitable.