Calabar — Acting Managing Director, Cross River Basin Development Authority, Engr. Mfon Taiwo Essien, has said that the flood which ravaged the country last year was due to man's increasing influence on the hydrological cycle.
Essien was quoted in the latest in-house publication of the authority, Cross River Basin Newsletter, as saying that the flood would not have been so severe but for man-made impact on the natural environment.
He said, "The flood we saw would have not been so severe. But you will find out that those hydrological events some of them are natural and a lot of them are man-made because of man's influence on the hydrological cycle. A number of places that were flooded are those which, under normal circumstances, should have a 'Do Not Trespass" sign post.
Engr Mfon said it was important for the country to get its hydrological data right. He added that the country never had such impactful flood which ravaged many of its parts in the last 40 years.
He said many drainages, irrigation and agricultural schemes should be reconstructed with such flood in mind in order to check future occurrence.
"Now that we have seen these kinds of events, we should have a new bench mark and redesign our schemes to be able to cope with it and, apart from redesigning, we have to reappraise our cropping calendar.
"I must commend NIMET because they predicted and documented it and warned so many people that this was coming. I pray that this kind of incident does not repeat itself."
Even though he said the Cross River Basin Development Authority was yet to take insurance against damage to its agricultural irrigation, he advised other organizations to see it as important.
Speaking on siting of projects in the catchment areas under his jurisdiction, Mfon said, "in Cross River State, we have tried to intervene. For example, last year, we had water in so many communities; cumulatively in the two states we had water schemes in more than 500 communities. But the major problem we had before was that most of the schemes we put in place were vandalized and not was functional. We have tried to adopt what I will call appropriate and cost effective technology and that is why we are changing most of our schemes to solar pumps."
In 2011 and last year, he said the authority constructed 170 water schemes which are all working. He said that the authority plans more irrigation, flood and erosion control and other infrastructure in the two states.
But he said that the people would be expected to decide on areas of need based on the availability of funds appropriated, even though federal government may direct the authority on the siting of a project at a particular location. "Again, legislators at the National Assembly place various water related projects at their different constituencies and execute them through the authority."