The Lagos State government has assured residents of the state of its preparedness to contain any emergencies emanating from the release of water by the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA).
The commissioner of the environment and water resources, Tokunbo Wahab, gave the assurance at a news conference on Friday in Lagos.
Mr Wahab also explained the preparedness of the Lagos state government to contain any eventuality that might come with the intensity of the flow of runoff from upland states into Lagos due to the rainfall events since September 2023.
Mr Wahab said the state government was capable of managing the consequences of the release of water by OORBDA.
According to him, there was no cause for alarm.
“From some of the statistics issued by the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority, the total amount of rainfall recorded from January to October 15 of 2023 indicates that most of the expected rainfall in the area has fallen.
“The volume of water released from January to October 15, 2023 which is more than the average synthesized Annual Flow Volume of 1,770 million cubic meters (mcms) against a gross storage of 2,274.0 mcm.
“First, for context on the severity of the issues, let me share with you the volumes of water flow through the Oyan Dam in the past few months.
“In July 2023, 418.9 mcms of water was released. In August, that figure rose to 545.0 mcms ; September saw the release of 532.2 mcms and as of October 15, the flow has been averaging daily releases of 23.2 mcms totaling 2,274 mcm.
“This is in addition to 203.4 mm of rainfall in July, 174.9 mm in August, 362.6mm of rainfall in September and 170.8mm in October 2023 so far,” Mr Wahab said.
The commissioner said as at Oct. 15, the peak of the expected rainfall in the month of October had already been experienced as the inflow from the upstream was reducing gradually.
“This will eventually abate all issues of flooding that may be experienced upstream.
“These are not numbers we take lightly and we acknowledge the impact they’ve had on our communities,” Mr Wahab said.
The commissioner said the government had stepped up its multifaceted approach to mitigate the effects of the flooding in response to the development.
“We are committed to all-year-round drainage maintenance, reclaiming drainage Right of Way, ensuring that our waterways are kept clear and flowing efficiently.
“Additionally, we have undertaken a comprehensive dredging programme for our main river channels to enhance water flow and reduce the risk of flooding.
“Furthermore, we are working on improving our flood prediction and early warning systems to keep our citizens informed and safe.
“We have recognised the need for better collaboration with the management of Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority to manage the release of water from the dam more effectively.
“By fostering an improved relationship, we aim to strike a balance between the need for water management and the safety of our communities.
“This is in addition to similar collaborations we have with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency to mention a few,” Mr Wahab said.
He said that Lagos State, being low-lying, was at risk of coastal flooding.
He explained that the government was fully aware of the vulnerability of the state to flooding and was working diligently to adapt well to it.
“This includes plans for building resilient infrastructure and adopting sustainable land use practices.
“The flooding may stay for a while but will recede with time.
“Let me at this juncture assure you all that our state continues to reap the gain of planning, as our flood control measures are already proving adequate and are also being stepped up to contain any additional unforeseen weather conditions.
“Guided by core principles of providing a flood-free and hygienic environment in the state, this ministry is providing all-year-round drainage maintenance for effective and efficient flood control with diligent dredging of all primary channels and cleaning/desilting of all secondary collectors, to enable them discharge efficiently and act as retention and/or detention basins.
“We are also collaborating on a continuous basis with the chairmen of all LGA’s/LCDAs and the tenements to complement our efforts by embarking on cleaning/desilting of all tertiary drains in the state,” Mr Wahab said.
He stressed that, in the interim, the emergency flood abatement gang under the drainage maintenance department of the ministry is still at work consistently working on black spots and intervening on some critical tertiary drains to enable them discharge efficiently and act as retention basins.
He appealed to residents to report cases of drainage blockages, dumping of waste into canals and other unauthorised places to the resident engineers offices statewide.
“On a final note, I wish to appeal once again to our people to continue to support our efforts by complementing the state government through regular clearing of drains in their frontages.
“This will ensure free-flow of storm water and to desist from dumping of refuse into drainage channels and roads so that we can consolidate on the gains already made in the 2023 rainy season,” Mr Wahab said.