Nigeria needs more dams to check flooding — NIHSA

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency on Monday declared that there was a need for more smaller dams in strategic locations across the country in order to prevent flooding during the raining season.

It also stated that  about 40 years, Nigeria could not build the Dasin-Hausa dam in Adamawa State to cushion the impact of any release of water from Lagdo dam in Cameroon, despite being advised by the neighbouring country to construct a dam.

The Director-General, NIHSA, Clement Nze, who disclosed these at a press briefing/induction and training of 100 new employees of the agency in Abuja, noted that it was important for the country to construct dams in order to effectively manage the menace of flooding.

He said, “Most of us are advocating that let Nigeria dam the tributaries of major rivers by building small dams instead of large massive dams in order to check flooding. For instance, we have the Kashimbilla dam on River Katsina, which was primarily built to address the problem of a lake in Cameroon.

“If we can build small dams within the tributaries of River Benue and do proper monitoring, it will go a long way to address any catastrophe coming from River Benue.”

On the flooding effect of the Lagdo dam in Nigeria, Nze stated that the Nigerian government failed to construct its own dam after being advised by Cameroon to do so.

He said, “The Lagdo dam was built between 1977 and 1982. And when they started building this, they advised Nigeria to build its own so that if they should release water when it becomes inevitable, our own dam will hold the water. But for almost 40 years or so, our own has been on the drawing table,  that is the Dasin-Hausa dam.

“The name of the dam is Dasin-Hausa and it was named after a village known as Dasin-Hausa in a local government, which I think is Fufure LGA, in Adamawa State.

That is where the government would have built our own large dam to checkmate whatever is coming from Lagdo dam. They (Cameroon) have built their own but we have not been able to do ours.”

He said the Lagdo dam in Cameroon was built within the catchment area of the neighbouring country, adding that the plan was that the Dasin-Hausa dam in Nigeria would have about twice the capacity of Lagdo in case of a collapse of the large dam in Cameroon.

He stated that the lack of political will, funding constraint, among others, were factors that hindered the construction of the Dasin-Hausa dam in Nigeria.

Nze, however, stated that it was important to note that not every flood that occurs in parts of Nigeria like Adamawa State and its environs were as a result of the opening of Lagdo dam.

The NIHSA boss explained that many rivers in the North had the capacity to flood the region, as he stated that the Lagdo dam had been shut for more than three years and so could not be responsible for flooding in Nigeria during this period.

He said, “But these days globally, the construction of large dams is being discouraged. Dams with heights of about 15 metres and above constitute what we call large dams. So it is being said now that people should build small dams. In India, they have thousands of small dams that can even supply up to one megawatt of electricity.

“So the idea is that you target a community, build a dam there and it controls flooding issues, provides electricity and serves irrigation purposes. For instance, the Zungeru dam is to generate about 700MW, the Gurara phase two is about 300MW. This means you can build small dams like that which can help to control flooding, help in irrigation and support on power generation.”
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