In a significant flood alert for Lagos residents, the Lagos State Government has emphasised its preparedness to manage any potential emergencies resulting from the water release by the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA). This critical information was disclosed during a press conference by Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, the Commissioner of the Environment and Water Resources, on Friday in Lagos.
Wahab took the time to explain the state government’s level of readiness and the measures in place to address any consequences brought about by the intense runoff water flowing into Lagos, driven by persistent rainfall events since September 2023.
Lagos residents were urged not to panic, as the government was well-prepared to handle any arising issues. Wahab delved into the statistics that have been issued by the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority.
He went on to provide comprehensive insights: “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, 2023, indicates that most of the expected rainfall in the area has fallen.”
The commissioner shared detailed data: “The volume of water released from January to October 15, 2023, which is more than the average Synthesised Annual Flow Volume of 1,770 million cubic metres (mcms) against a gross storage of 2,274.0 mcm.” The community was then briefed on the specific quantities of water flowing through the Oyan Dam over the past few months.
“In July 2023, 418.9 mcm of water was released. In August, that figure rose to 545.0 mcm; September saw the release of 532.2 mcm, and as of October 15, the flow has been averaging daily releases of 23.2 mcm, totalling 2,274 mcm,” Wahab highlighted. To provide a comprehensive picture, he also presented data on the amount of rainfall each month from July to October 2023.
Importantly, as of October 15, the area had already experienced the peak of expected rainfall for the month of October, and the inflow from upstream was gradually reducing. This reduction in upstream inflow is expected to mitigate potential flooding issues.
Wahab assured the residents that the government was taking an active role in addressing the situation. The authorities are implementing all-year-round drainage maintenance, reclaiming the Right of Way for drainage, and ensuring that waterways remain clear for efficient water flow. Furthermore, a comprehensive dredging programme has been initiated for the main river channels to enhance water flow and reduce flood risks.
The commissioner confirmed that the government was also working on improving flood prediction and early warning systems to keep citizens informed and safe. Enhanced collaborations with organizations such as the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency are aimed at managing the water release from the dam more effectively and ensuring community safety.
Acknowledging the vulnerability of Lagos State to coastal flooding due to its low-lying geography, Wahab assured that the government was fully aware of this risk and was diligently working to adapt to it. Resilient infrastructure and sustainable land-use practices are being planned to address these challenges.
Wahab urged residents to join hands with the authorities in maintaining drainage channels by clearing drains in their frontages. The public was also encouraged not to dump refuse into drainage channels and roads, as this could impede the success of the government’s flood control measures.
In conclusion, Wahab emphasized the government’s commitment to providing a flood-free and hygienic environment in the state. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources is tirelessly working to maintain drainage systems, promote efficient water flow, and create a safer environment for residents.
With these comprehensive measures and heightened alert, Lagos residents can rest assured that the Lagos State Government is well-prepared and actively addressing any potential emergencies that may arise from water releases by the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority.