The Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu has said that Nigeria will need the sum of $14 billion for the introduction of river training to control recurrent flooding of rivers Niger and Benue, so as to tackle disasters and humanitarian crises. He advocated for river training as a way to tackle flooding in Nigeria, during a forum organized by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on October 2, 2022. He, however, said that developing a master plan for river training in Nigeria is the first step to using river training as a solution to flooding.
Nairametrics had earlier reported flooding in several states like Kogi, Adamawa, Jigawa, Niger, and Benue states, with 300 people dead and over 600,000 people affected by floods in various parts of the country, as of mid-September 2022.
Mr. Adamu says that his ministry’s 2022 Annual Flood Outlook had revealed severe flooding in many parts of the country, hence the need for Nigerians to take precautionary measures. According to him, the river training would include dredging, putting some structural elements, as well as reclaiming certain floodplains, among others.
“We want to do a study on Rivers Niger and Benue, we want to develop a master plan that will address some of these issues. One of the reasons is that there is huge sediment in the river. River Niger traverses the Sahara Desert. It starts from the Futa-Jalo and runs through Mali in the Sahara Desert, so it brings a lot of sediments every year, and so it’s filling the river. And so, when an extraordinarily high-intensity flow comes in, you know if the capacity of the river bed cannot take it, it will spill over the banks and that’s what’s been happening.
“So, one of the things we were trying to do is the engineering solution to do that. We have what we call river training, it involves dredging, it involves putting some structural elements, what we call groins, and so on into the river. It requires doing some dykes, embankments, requires reclaiming certain floodplains, and even straightening some of the sharp bends on the rivers and so on and so forth, it is a huge endeavor,” Mr. Adamu says.
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A blast from the past (2018)
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In July 2018, the Director for Irrigation and Drainage at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Dr. Elijah Aderibigbe, said the ministry was constructing dykes in flood-prone areas in order to protect farmlands. He gave an example with a 32-kilometer dyke at Tada-Shonga Irrigation land in Edu local government area of Kwara State, with funds from national budgets and support from the Natural Resources Fund (NRF).
What you should know
- A 2021 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underscores rising global temperatures are dramatically affecting the water cycle, making floods and droughts more extreme and frequent.
- River training is undertaken with the purpose of providing safe disposal of maximum floods and thus providing protection against damage due to floods.
- One of the main objectives of river training is to provide a safe passage of flood discharge without overflowing the banks for the protection of developed or inhabited areas.
- A flood control dyke is a long wall or embankment built to prevent flooding from a river course. In the Netherlands, for instance, a lot of lands is below sea level, so the Dutch have had to build dykes to protect their communities.
- Aside from dykes and embankments, groynes are also used in river training. Groynes are used in river training to guard against flooding. The main purpose of groynes is to train a river along the desired course by attracting, deflecting or repelling the flow in the river.