There is uneasy calm over the planned release of water from Oyan Dam managed by Ogun-Oshun River Basin Authority.
Yearly, the dam is opened as a mitigating effort to create space for the water to have its maximum deployment. The quantity of water released yearly is determined by the combination of index hydrological data base of the river basin authority.
Last year, areas, such as Mile 12, Ketu, Owode, Oworoshoki and Bariga, were overran by flood with deaths recorded and properties lost. It was worse in communities along the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, such as Isheri, Warewa, Arepo, Magboro and Ibafo areas of Ogun State, where high losses in human and materials were reported.
Residents who spoke with The Nation were apprehensive as they recalled their past experiences of losses. Their apprehension is not for nothing as at a point, hundreds of people living in those communities could only access their homes with the aid of canoes while houses and properties were lost to the ravaging flood.
They are afraid of the cruel fate that would become their lot and that of their families with Covid-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing.
Earlier, raising an alarm on the coming heavy rains and attendant flooding, Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello warned the public on the planned opening of Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) and the release of five million Cubic meters next month, 10 million cubic meters in August and 18 million cubic meters in September, and the highest release in October of 23 million cubic’s with a gradual reduction of water to 11 million cubic meters in November.
He lamented that the design capacity of the dam is inadequate for today’s reality of 1770 million cubic meters as against 270 million cubic meters it was made for.
He advised residents who live within the lowly areas, such as Agbowo-Ketu, Mile 12, Owode and others, to be prepared to vacate their homes for safety.
Bello said: “The excess water is not only from the dam reservoir, but also from resultant effect in the catchment upstream. Usually, Lagos will experience, river flooding, coastal flooding and flash and urban flooding.
It is imperative to state that for a coastal city like Lagos once it rains consistently for a minimum of eight hours, there must be flash flood caused by increasing inability of high rise of the lagoon which is brought about by a rise of the ocean waters”.
While sympathising with residents of the state who lost their loved ones as a result of the heavy downpour of June 17 and 18, he stressed that it had become imperative to take tougher measures because of the increasing effect of climate change and the cost of maintaining the drainage channels.
The commissioner said the government was working on 222 secondary channels out of which 146 have been completed across the state just as 46 primary channels are receiving attention, he stated.
On other activities of his ministry to minimise flooding, he said: “We have deployed our Emergency Flood Abatement Gangs (EFAG) that are being deployed round the state to undertake quick fix to free manholes or clogged up drains manually.”
Responding to complaints of some residents of Aguda, Shomolu, Surulere, and Oworonshoki of not seeing any contractor on site against government claims, he reiterated that the contractors were working on the channels but in some instances cleaning usually start from the lower stream.
He maintained that areas in Idi Oro, Mushin and other areas experiencing issues are as a result of indiscriminate dumping of refuse.