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How We Will Control Flood in South-west, By Ogun/Osun River Basin Development Authority Boss Soyemi

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The rains are here again and many in the country, South-west inclusive, fear that flooding may be underway again this year as it happened in some states in previous years. Engineer Akintunde Akanbi Soyemi is the Managing Director of Ogun/Osun River Basin Development Authority (O-ORBDA), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. WESTERN POST’s CORRESPONDENT KOLAWOLE OLAYINKA recently had a chat with him in Abeokuta, Ogun State, where he spoke on the plan of the agency and its readiness to control flooding this year…

Our duty is to manage all water resources…

Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority is a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. It is one of the 12 River Basins created by the then military government and we started operation around 1976 and we cover four states- Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Osun states- as our catchment area of operation as a river basin. Our duty is to manage all water resources whether underground or surface water resources for the benefit of the people.

The authority was formally launched on July 4th, 1977 at a colourful ceremony presided over by the then Federal Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Ibrahim El Yakub, at the Centenary Hall, Ake, Abeokuta. In attendance were the then Military Governors of Oyo, Ogun and Lagos States, which fall in the area of coverage of the authority.

We have in-house experts capable of constructing big dams…

Yes, dam is multi-purpose, a dam can be medium, it can be large and it can be small but we have more than 15 dams. 2 were constructed by contractors (international contractors) and we have the rest constructed by our in-house engineers. We believe that in Ogun – Osun, when it comes to construction and development of water infrastructure, we are well on ground. We are on top of the situation, we have the experts and we are capable of dredging dams in-house. However, out of these dams, we have 2 big dams; one is Oyan Dam in Ogun State. It’s around Imala town, very close to  Abeokuta in Ogun State, while the other one is in Iseyin in Oyo state,  which is bigger and called Ikere George Dam and it is bigger than that of Oyan dam. Dam is multipurpose like I said, they are for fishery activities, tourism, irrigation and for domestic water supply, for hydro-power and for flood control. These are some of the usage of dams.

O-ORBDA has constructed two large multipurpose dams…

O-ORBDA has constructed two large multipurpose dams. They are Oyan River Dam and Ikere George Dam. Oyan River dam is a 270 million cubic meters (MCM) Dam constructed on river, a tributary of Ogun River. It is located some 20 kilometres North West of Abeokuta and designed to supply 700 million litres of raw water per day to the water corporations of Ogun and Lagos states for treatment and distribution. Ikere George Dam is a 565 mcm multipurpose dam located about 28km, North East of Iseyin in Oyo State. It was designed to supply water to Isehin, Okeho, Igana and environs, provide irrigation water for the 3,000 1st phase of middle Ogun Irrigation Project, which is currently under construction.  Also, the authority’s objective is to construct a number of small/medium dams for water supply for irrigation and domestic uses. These include Lekan Are Dam, Oke Odan, Eniosa, Ofiki 1, Ofiki II, Sepeteri 1, Sepeteri II, Okuku, Igbojaiye, Asa, Iwoye Ketu, Fiditi, Iragbiji and Iwo Dam.

We are in charge of the most vulnerable state for flooding…

First of all, our river basin happens to be in charge of the most vulnerable state for flooding. Lagos State happens to be where all the water in our area of operation I.e. our catchment area of operation, flows into. They get into the Lagos Lagoon before getting into the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, the flood control especially in River Ogun is done from the area we operate our dams I.e in the way we relief and we provide for the incoming flood through the rainfall from all tributaries especially the tributaries of rivers that are dammed. For example,  Oyan Dam that many people say usually causes flooding especially around Isheri, OPIC Estate and all the estates around Isheri, Ketu area.  It is not so because Oyan Dam actually is one of the purpose.  So with ongoing projects in Ogun State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun has put some measures in place by constructing standard and a free water flow drainage in the state to ease our authority’s stress.

Mini Dam inside OORBDA is a combination of three streams…

As you can see, before any river or stream can be called a dam, it means some professionals have worked on it. Also, a dam can be linked with more than two rivers or streams. For example, the mini dam inside OORBDA or our authority is a combination of three streams coming from Alabata axis and it’s functioning well.  We do this by allowing for more than enough room for incoming flood water during the rainy season and this is done by control relief during the dry season and the wet season in such a way that we have more than enough room for any incidental flash flood that may come in during the rainy season especially towards September and October.

So exactly now, Oyan Dam is one of the tributaries of River Ogun. We have other tributaries, for example in Oyo State we have Ofiki, Onor, Sepeteri River and streams and Igbo Ijaye Stream to mention a few that contribute to River Ogun. Their water is discharged directly because they are not dammed and are not gagged, so the relieving cannot be controlled. When we come to Ogun State, we have Oyan Dam and Owiwi, which are some of the tributaries of River Ogun. They are not River Ogun specifically, they are just the tributaries; they contribute that stream to River Ogun.  So these are the water erosion that will now flow through River Ogun Channel towards Lagos, these are the waters that will cause flooding but because Oyan Dam is controlled, in relieving we will need more and more amount of money because we have enough storage, enough road on Oyan River for it to be able to acquire, for it to be able to allow for the in flooding water to come in and be stored so that we can discard it minimally in such a way that it will not cause flood.

We control our dam…

Yes, on our own part, as I have said, through the way we operate our dams, we are assuring them that from our own dam, there won’t be any source of concern and alarm because we assure people in our catchment area that they are save. There won’t be flooding due to the water released from our dam but the drain, the quantity of the drain must be checked and looked into. For example, there is nothing disturbing the flow of water because if there is any disturbance to the flow of water, it will build up and it will inundate to any level at that grade up so the most important thing is for us to make sure that we have enough drain, enough channel to contain the flood water and integrity idea are good enough to take the water to the channel and down to the Atlantic Ocean or lagoon.

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