The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has asked that the country be prepared to experience flooding incident once the upper catchment of the River Niger Basin gets flooded.
The director-general of NIHSA, Engr. Clement Nze, gave the warning during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, saying the agency was also in contact with the Cameroonian authorities with regard to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. The country is located at the lowest portion of the basin. This means that once the upper catchment of the basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding incident. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August to September of every year.
“The agency is monitoring the developments as we approach these critical months. Also, the agency will continue to monitor developments on River Benue sub-basin and keep close contact with the Cameroonian authorities with regard to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin. It should be noted that at this period of the year impoundment of water into the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon is still in progress.
“Under normal circumstances, it is usually around the 3rd week of September that the dam reservoir could approach an elevation of 213m. Spillage of water can only take place once the reservoir level approaches 216m. Therefore, no release of water from Lagdo Dam has taken place as at today,” he said.
The NIHSA boss reassured that the agency, Nigeria’s foremost upstream sector agency was closely monitoring the situation to ensure there was no avoidable flooding disaster from the basins, adding it had recommended preventive measures to state governors likely to experience flooding in their various states.
According to him, the mandate of the agency, among others, is the provision of information and services required for efficient and sustainable management of the nation’s vast surface and groundwater resources, including security of life, property and water related hazards, such as floods and drought.
“The agency has the responsibility of assessing and monitoring all the major rivers, including the trans-boundary rivers Niger and Benue as well as the groundwater resources of the country. It remains the most active, most responsive and most visible agency at the upstream sector in the prediction and issuance of flood early warning alerts in Nigeria. It plays a critical role towards ensuring security of lives and property across the country. By use of several automated equipment installed on major rivers as well as weather observation stations across the country, the agency collects and processes real-time data needed for flood early warning which is very vital to all sectors of the economy,” he added.