Don calls for regular dam monitoring as rainy season deepens

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ABUJA –  As rainfall deepens, Prof. Constatine Mbajiorgu, a lecturer in Applied Hydrology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has called for regular monitoring and maintenance of dams to prevent flooding.

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Mbajiorgu made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday

He said that new dam designs should take into consideration the effect of climate change.

“It is only by reservoir operation management that you can control floods to make sure that before the floods arrive you lower the water level in them.

“So that they can take a sizeable amount of the flood and reduce the flood beak; you can’t redesign them, you can’t increase their heights because the higher the dam the deeper the foundation.

“So, you can’t do that now that they already exist, but if at the point of design you want to take that into consideration then of course give it a stronger foundation.

“Make it bigger, raise its height and make it more capable of containing extreme events.

“They need to incorporate more safety facilities to make the dams easy to operate and more sensitive to change.“

He called for the use of modern techniques such as simulation modeling (Use of computer to simulate) in the construction of new dams, saying that the method was key to facilitating climate change adaptation. [eap_ad_1] Mbajiorgu said that existing dams in the country were built without regard to climate change adaptation due of lack of data and the award of the dam construction contracts to foreign consultants.

He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to give local professionals with in-depth knowledge of the Nigerian terrain the dam construction contracts.

“Usually government gives the contract for design to foreign consultants; the problem is that there is no data, so many of them just estimate the dam design, and so what we get, we get.

“We have not been monitoring our environment, gauging of rivers is an expensive thing and many of the river gauges that we have are dysfunctional and this is a major problem.

“Government can invest on hydrometric networks across the country to collect data on the environment.

“Even without data it’s still possible to make reasonable estimates but you need to apply some modern techniques like simulation, modeling.

“That is you use a computer to simulate the facility and then you impose on it some stresses, arbitrary stresses, hypothetical stresses and then you see how it behaves and from there you optimise your design before you go to the field.“

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