Flood is currently one of the most hotly debated issues in Ghanaian media and among other professional bodies, mainly, as a result of the recent floods that eroded some key strategic parts of Accra. It is estimated that the death of about 25 people was directly linked to the flooding, while the explosion of a petroleum station caused by the flooding itself left at least more than 150 people dead. The causes of floods in Accra, perceived and real, have many varied attributions. In this commentary piece, IMANI?s Research Fellow Bright Simons comes up with a crude roadmap for dealing with floods.
Avoid hasty, knee-jerk, actions.
Update Accra?s hydrological and urban geography maps.
Identify all the major incident sites of the last 10 seasonal floods and plot a detailed scatter diagram as a starting point for developing a flood model.
Ground the flood model by benchmarking the hydrological studies with the observed actual patterns of flooding hotspots.
Confirm if the bottlenecks preventing existing drains from working optimally are indeed due to obstruction of waterways, ether natural or artificial.
Compare the costs of removing obstructions and creation diversions for rainwater movements.
Based on outcome of comparison, embark on a public enlightenment campaign.
Offer owners of economically viable obstructions the option of paying for diversions or to face removal.
After 2 months deadline, take action indicated in point 8.
If study in point 5 suggests that bottlenecks have negligible impact, move to next phase of study regarding drainage impediments.
Implement targeted flood control interventions based on sewer systems in hotspots.
Finance actions in point 11 by increasing the water bills of residents in hotspots.
Use discounted future cash flow from water bills to justify development financing from a consortium of local and international development finance institutions.
Review performance of action plan.
Keep avoiding knee-jerk actions.