By Emeka Achebe
The Anambra State Government under Governor Willie Obiano has commenced a study to mitigate the perennial flooding in Onitsha metropolis and environs.
This has been made possible through Anambra State Government’s partnership with the Special Climate Change Fund, SCCF, under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP.
The project, known as “Onitsha Storm water Management Master Plan’’, will hold its first stakeholder’s engagement workshop on Feb. 27.
The study involves understanding flood and drainage discharge patterns with intent on developing lasting solution for Onitsha and environs.
Uncontrolled storm water from increased run-off is the immediate cause of urban flooding and gully formation in Anambra, which negatively impacts on the economy and general well-being of the people.
With similar efforts around the state, the Obiano government would be seeking to promote economic security by addressing gully formation, vulnerability to soil erosion and creating climate-resilient Anambra, one community at a time.
Onitsha as gateway to eastern Nigeria and as economic nerve-centre is well-chosen for this project, given its peculiar location.
The city combines roads and waterways access points, making it one of the four main potential industrial and commercial growth areas in Nigeria.
Storm water run-off management from urban areas is an increasingly important determinant of the health, ecology and amenity of urban streams, rivers, estuaries and network of canals.
Urban development has severely affected urban waterways in many ways.
With increased impervious surfaces (such as roofs and roads, interlocking etc) has caused increased volumes and rates of storm water run-off from urban areas.
Many minor urban canals and streams have been replaced with concrete pipes and constructed channels to safely convey run-off water to natural bodies of water without causing major flooding.
Streams not destroyed in this way have typically suffered increased siltation and the attendant degradation of associated riparian vegetation because of the increased flows and other climate-change effects.
Daily activities in the urban areas, from erecting houses to maintaining gardens to driving and motor cars, leads to the deposition of a broad range of refuse and pollutants on urban landscapes.
These refuse and pollutants are washed away during rainfalls, causing storm water pollution.
The pollutants typically found in urban storm water run-off are litters, vegetative waste, soil and sediment, nutrients (which contribute to algal blooms), pesticides and herbicides, oils and other hydrocarbons, heavy metals and other toxic substances.
All of these alter the environmental nature of the area, impacted by storm water.
Increased rates and frequencies of storm water flows (from the increase in impervious areas) and increased nutrient element levels, and sediments loads, contribute to erosion and promotion of weed species growth, creating debilitating impact on the ecosystem and communities living and or dependent on it.
As back drop of this situation, Onitsha Urban Storm water Management Master Plan is being developed as part of the climate-resilience in Anambra by Gov. Obiano.
This project will be achieved through enhanced awareness and educating communities affected by flooding, so as to promote change in behaviour, identifying and assessing storm water drainage needs of Onitsha City.
This will aid the preparation of a master plan to allow for prioritisation, detailed design and implementation of infrastructure and projects to reduce flooding, manage the menace and impact of rain water.
This will allow for improvements and development to proceed without recourse to lives of the community.
This will to outlining and identifying institutional arrangements and relevant stakeholders for implementation of the project for a sustainable development.
The administration of Gov. Obiano deserves all the necessary commendation and cooperation for attracting such a huge investment (Grant) from the Special Climate Change Fund, SCCF, through the NEWMAP.
This is an opportunity to support his vision for environment-friendly Anambra State. Indeed, it can only come from a government with the best interest of the people at heart.
– Feb. 25, 2018 @ 1:14 GMT /