Socio-Economic Effect Of Flooding On Wetlands

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

Socio-Economic Effect Of Flooding On Wetlands


Abstract


This study examined the socio-economic effect of flooding on wetlands. The study was carried out in Korodu and Kosofe areas of Lagos state. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The study had discussions with key Stakeholders at district and Community levels as well as randomly sampled households. Quantitative Household Questionnaires and Qualitative Key Informant Interviews were used to collect the data. The study established that floods impacted on people’s socio-economic livelihoods and critical aspects such as agriculture, health, education, housing, water and sanitation and property and assets. The study recommended that the Government and key Stakeholders should engage communities in order for them to move permanently to higher grounds as they have expressed willingness to relocate. The relocating should go with the provision of all the necessary social amenities such as schools, hospitals, infrastructure, water and agriculture support for a period of three (3) years to enable the households settle. Consideration should also be made to introduce alternative livelihood strategies in the new area of settlement.


Table of Content


Chapter One

Background to the Study

  • 1.1. Introduction
  • 1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Scope of the Study
  • 1.7 Study Area
  • 1.7.1: Location
  • 1.7.2: Physical Setting
  • 1.7.3: Human Setting
  • 1.7.4 Economic activities
  • 1.8 Limitations of the Study
  • 1.9 Contribution to knowledge

Chapter Two

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Flooding
  • 2.2.1 Definition of Flooding
  • 2.2.2 Types of Flooding
  • 2.3 Impact of Climate Change on Floods
  • 2.4 Urbanization and Floods

Chapter Three

Research Methodology

  • 3.1. Introduction
  • 3.1. Study Design
  • 3.2. Sample Selection and Size
  • 3.3. Study Methodology
  • 3.3.1. Quantitative Household Questionnaire
  • 3.3.2. Qualitative Key Informant Interviews
  • 3.4. Data Analysis
  • 3.5. Credibility, Transferability and Dependability
  • 3.5.1. Credibility
  • 3.5.2. Transferability
  • 3.5.3. Dependability
  • 3.6. Conclusion

Chapter Four

Presentation and Discussion of Results

  • 4.1. Introduction
  • 4.2. Rainfall Performance for 2006/07 and 2007/08 Rainfall Seasons
  • 4.3. Discussion of results
  • 4.3.1. Household Demographics
  • 4.3.2. Livelihood Patterns
  • 4.3.3 Impact of floods
  • 4.3.3.1. Agriculture
  • 4.3.3.2. Health
  • 4.3.3.3. Education
  • 4.3.3.4. Water and sanitation
  • 4.3.3.5. Housing
  • 4.3.3.6. Property and Assets
  • 4.3.3.7. Coping Strategies
  • 4.3.3.8. Underlying Causes of Vulnerability
  • 4.4. Interpretation of the results
  • 4.5. Limitations of the results
  • 4.6. Implications of the results

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

  • 5.1. Summary
  • 5.2. Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • 5.3.1. Consideration for further research
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


Background to the Study

1.1. Introduction

A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land (Wikipedia 2011a). Floods are among the most devastating natural disasters in the world, claiming more lives and causing more property damage than any other natural phenomena. In Lagos metropolis, though not leading in terms of claiming lives, flood affects and displaces more people than any other disaster it also causes more damage to properties. At least 20 per cent of the population is at risk from one form of flooding or another (Etuonovbe, 2011). When such floods occur in the cities it is referred to as Urban Flooding.

Generally, Flood is caused by two major factors which involve the human and man-made factors, these factors obviously are responsible for the generation and continuous occurrence of flooding in the environment, and at any point negatively affect the environment at large.

The impact of flooding may be a worldwide phenomenon, but the effects are more devastating in African cities stated (Niasse, 2004). Lagos is not an exception given their prevailing socio-economic problems in the area of housing in the urban areas. Urban areas will be faced with increases in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainstorms, ocean surges and other extreme weather events. The urban centers that will be more at risk are those where these events are already widespread.

Etuonovbe (2011) sited that flooding may occur when water in the river overflows its banks, or sometimes results from a torrential rainfall due to climate change. It happens without warning but with a surprise package that always delivers to unprepared community like the ones in the Lagos metropolis i.e Ikorodu, Victoria Island, kosofe Ajegunle, Bariga, Makoko, Ibafo-Mowe and so on. In Lagos metropolis, flood disaster has been perilous to people, communities and institutions. Recently, and other parts of the country have been affected by flooding, chasing the inhabitants away and retarding commercial activities. It has shattered both the built-environment and underdeveloped areas. It has claimed many lives, and thousands of properties got lost due to its occurrences. One prominent feature about it is that flooding does not discriminate, but marginalizes whosoever refuses to prepare for its occurrence (UNHabitat, 2008).

Wetlands, according to Carter (1981) are ‘land transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water level is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. Willard and Rezneat (1982) also defined wetlands as those areas, which are capable of supporting water related vegetation. Wetlands can be identified by the presence of those plants (hydrophytes) that are adapted to life in the soils that form under flooded or saturated conditions, According to Turner (1990) wetland ecosystems account for about six per cent of the global land area and are considered by many authorities to be among the most threatened of all environmental resources. Both the physical extent of wetlands and their quality (in terms of species diversity, etc.) have declined greatly over the past years (Turner, 1990). Most of the physical losses have been due to the conversion of wetlands to other land uses, for example residential and agricultural. However, the benefits derived from such conversion must be sustainable, environmentally friendly and tailored towards food security in the case of agricultural purposes.

The wetlands around the estuaries of Ogun River and its environs in Ikorodu/Kosofe areas of Lagos state remain unprotected. Thus, the Lower Ogun River Basin Wetlands are presently experiencing a lot of physical changes. Due to the increasing population pressure, increasing and urgent demand for food, high cost of land and the almost unavailability and unaffordable cost of land in Lagos metropolis, urban agricultural activities and other developmental processes are competing for land, especially wetlands around Ikorodu and Kosofe areas of Lagos state. McGranahan et al. (2007) noted that while economic activity and urban Development often increase the environmental pressures that lead to flooding, it is the low Income settlements and poor groups within all settlements that tend to be the most vulnerable.

Therefore, from the above observation, the vulnerability of wetlands in Lagos state to these threats from Flooding are very extensive and numerous, the fact that Lagos is an urban metropolis, in fact the Largest urban agglomeration in Africa and Africa’s most populated city with 18 million people and a Population growth rate of 6% per annum Projected at 25million people by 2015 (Odjogu, 2008). Lagos being the industrial and commercial nerve of Nigeria and the most populous nation in Africa contributes to the phenomena which makes it pertinent for all the stakeholders to bring to the fore the issue of Flooding and various mitigating and adaptive measures to cushion its effects on socio-economic activities in the Lagos State.

This research would be carried out so as to examine its extent to which the socio-economic impacts of flooding are determined in the Ikorodu/Kosofe area of Lagos state.


1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

The impacts of flooding in the Lagos state as briefly observed earlier initiates devastating consequences for the economy of the state and consequently housing and infrastructural developments. Flooding has had adverse effect on the economy of the state as a whole, creating large scale underdevelopment in some very economic vital areas, hence, increasing population density in less vulnerable communities and towns in the state which leads to overpopulation and congestion. Sea-level rise will have significant impacts on coastal areas of Africa, especially on its coastal megacities; because of the concentration of poor populations in potentially hazardous areas those are more vulnerable to such changes (Klein et al., 2002; Nicholls, 2004).

Traditionally, studies have shown that flooding occur naturally through excessive rainfall etc. Also this flooding could be as a result of human activities such as blockage of drainage, excessive pavement of land, deforestation due to overconsumption and felling of forest trees, neglect of nature and the environment which leads humans to build and construct infrastructures on any available land not regarding its characteristics etc.

The wetlands around the estuaries of Ogun River and its environs in Ikorodu/Kosofe areas of Lagos State remain unprotected. Thus, the Lower Ogun River Basin Wetlands are presently experiencing a lot of physical changes. Due to the increasing population pressure, increasing and urgent demand for food, high cost of land and the almost unavailability and unaffordable cost of land in Lagos state, urban agricultural activities and other developmental processes are competing for land, especially wetlands around Ikorodu and Kosofe areas of Lagos State. However, this wetland uses for agricultural purposes and other uses are with consequences on food security, human health, nutritional well-being and agro-ecosystem condition.

In addition, in most developing countries, information on wetlands is very few and insufficient. According to Turner (1990), there is a general lack of available information in the literature concerning tropical wetlands and their valuation. Information on the wetlands around the Lower Ogun River Basin in Ikorodu area of Lagos State with interface with the Lagos state is generally lacking. Inadequate resource information and the low priority accorded it in the planning process is one of the greatest weaknesses in the efforts of developing countries to develop (Adeniyi, 1985).

Asangwe (1992) estimated that about 60 per cent of Lagos state was originally natural wetlands. However, if wetlands are altered without first taking into consideration their full value, the negative consequences can be felt immediately by local people, the economy of a region or nation may be affected adversely if the alterations are many or large. According to LUCC Newsletter (2004), initial forest (wetlands) clearing for any purposes, for example, results in carbon emissions from biomass removal, habitat loss, and changes in disease vectors. Consequences from land use intensification in later stages of a landuse transition involve nutrient runoff from synthetic fertilizers, human health consequences associated with urban health islands, and nitrous oxide emissions to the atmosphere. In the Lower Ogun River Basin Wetlands, there has being changes in the functional role being played by the changed wetland due to influx of population and the rapid urbanization, plus their various socio-economic activities and the needs to provide food for the people at low cost. Presently, more and more wetlands are being taken over for urban agricultural purpose.

Thus, the is need to examine the health implications of such conversion using the ecosystem approach, which allows for contributions from trans-disciplinary approach with the goal of viewing the benefits, in terms of food security and diet diversity; the agro-ecosystem conditions, and the negatives health implications. The strong and highly complex interaction and interrelation of socio-economic and cultural determinants present a challenge for developing a holistic comprehension of environmental degradation and its impact on human health and well-being. Hence, the ecosystem approach promotes positive action on the environment that improves community well-being with the sole goal of having a sustainable development policy and action in place. Therefore, the research problem is to examine the extent to which flooding affects the health and livelihoods of people.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The overall objective of the study was to assess the impact of floods on the socio-economic status of livelihoods of people in Ikorodu/Kosofe L.G.A in Lagos state of Nigeria.

The specific objectives of the study were as follows:

  1. To identify the impact which floods have had on the socio-economic livelihoods of the people in Ikorodu/Kosofe L.G.A;
  2. To establish and analyze the underlying causes of vulnerability of the people in Ikorodu/Kosofe L.G.A;
  3. To establish vulnerable groups that are most affected by floods including gender considerations;
  4. To identify coping mechanisms employed by the L.G.A during floods and strengthen positive coping strategies; and
  5. To establish cultural impact on traditional patterns of life and work, family structures and authority, religious and tribal factors, archeological factors and social networks.

1.4 Research questions

  1. To identify the impact which floods have had on the socio-economic livelihoods of the people in Ikorodu/Kosofe L.G.A;
  2. To establish and analyze the underlying causes of vulnerability of the people in Ikorodu/Kosofe L.G.A; iii.To establish vulnerable groups that are most affected by floods including gender considerations;
  3. To identify coping mechanisms employed by the L.G.A during floods and strengthen positive coping strategies; and
  4. To establish cultural impact on traditional patterns of life and work, family structures and authority, religious and tribal factors, archeological factors and social networks.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The issue of flooding occupies a stage in the deliberation of current events primarily because of its hold on the location of the Lagos state on which houses various developments and being the commercial hub of the country is sited on and which forms the basis of all human and material wealth. The research is pertinent as it attempts to highlight the socio-economic implications of the consequences of these flooding causes and impacts on the environment. The issue of commerce and other effects caused by the impacts of flooding presents a dynamic challenge to professionals in the built environment in terms of innovations in construction and development of infrastructures that can withstand the test of change, securing life and properties and at the same time maintaining the aesthetic, strength, comfort, compatibility and cost effectiveness of the environment without compromising quality.

This research is of paramount importance to the government and their agencies especially planners either political or professionals as it brings to the fore the need for not only reactive but also pro-active measures by creating the necessary framework and enacting appropriate policies necessary to mitigate and adapt to the changes that may be ushered in by climate change.

Financial institutions like banks and insurance companies will benefit from this assessment as it bring awareness about the likely risks inherent in the areas where there credit facilities and insurance cover are being channeled into and ways the roles they could play given the dangers which flooding portraits.

Flooding has been identified as one of the major factors that prevents Africa’s growing Population of city dwellers from escaping poverty and stands in the way of United Nations 2020 Goal of achieving significant improvement in the lives of urban slum dwellers (Action Aid, 2006).this research would help in identifying various contrasting variables and causes of flooding in the selected area in Lagos state.

Aside from physical location and exposure to flood hazards, vulnerability to floods arises out of the social, economic and ecological circumstances of everyday living that result from social power relations. Social relations, structures and processes can influence the vulnerability of households and communities to floods through several pathways. On the other hand, social, economic, political, cultural and historical processes influence how flood hazards affect people in varying degrees and differing intensities. The study supports the emerging view that places adaptation to shocks associated with climate change as a subset of disaster risk reduction.

This study attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the vulnerability of poor urban Communities in the coastal city of Lagos and the negative socio- economic impact they are at risk to by exploring the links between city developments in Lagos, with particular reference to growth of slums, and risks from climate change.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study attempts to assess the impact of flood incidence on the socio-economic activities in Lagos state, this paper emphasizes more on socio-economic activities that involves commerce, agricultureand health, identifying the causes and the effects caused by the impacts of flooding and also strategically procuring mitigating strategies in solving this menace. The selected area is Ikorodu/ kosofe area of Lagos state. This area was selected as it represents an area of recent activities in terms of the incidence of flood. This paper would carefully examine and compare impacts in this community putting into consideration their socio economic characteristics.


1.7 Study Area

The study area covers a region, which according to Oyebande et al. (2003) is refer to as the Lower Ogun River Basin Wetlands and it is a major wetland region in Nigeria located in Ikorodu/Kosofe area of Lagos State. The following Local Government Areas (LGAs) falls within or partly within the study area: Kosofe, Somolu and Ikorodu Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos State, and it also extend into Ogun State around the OPIC Estate.

1.7.1: Location

The study area is located around Longitude 3º22´E and 3º39´E, as well as Latitude 6º31´N and 6º39´N. Ikeja bound the region to the west, the eastern end of Ikorodu LGA to the east, and Akoka/Ilaje-Bariga in Somolu LGA and the Lagos Lagoon to the southeast. It also shares a boundary with Ogun State in the north (see Map 1 and Map 2). The areal extent of the study area is about 361.02Km.sq.

1.7.2: Physical Setting

The topography of the area is generally low-lying undulating flat landform, but with some very rugged areas having scarp slopes and gorges. The altitude varies from sea level to about 15metres above sea level in some parts of Ogudu, Shaginshan and Magodo. The major water bodies in the area include River Ogun and the Lagos Lagoon in the southeastern part of the area. Other important water bodies, which traversed the area, include the Majidun and Agboyi Rivers. The area is covered with clay-sandy soil along the coastal axis in the south and clay-loamy soil at the interior part. Apart from the area still covered by forest, most of the clay-loamy soil of the interior have been seriously leached and presently look more like laterite soil. The soils are well drained with the exception of those found in the wetland areas. The vegetation of the region is that of coastal swamp and marsh forest, part of which had given way to the construction of houses, markets and other infrastructures.

The climate of the area is influenced by two air masses, namely: Tropical maritime and the Tropical continental air masses. The tropical maritime air mass is warm, wet and originates from the Atlantic Ocean. The tropical continental air mass is warm, dry, dusty and originates from the Sahara desert. Hence, the climate of the area is similar to that of the other coastal region of the tropical West Africa with tropical sub-equatorial climate. The temperature is high throughout the year with an annual mean maximum temperature of 33.27ºC, while annual mean minimum temperature is 20.27ºC and the annual mean temperature is 26.77ºC. The study area experience two separate seasons, namely: the wet season, which runs from April to October, with August being the little dry season period. The main dry season is from November to March. The area records an average annual rainfall of about 1830mm, with maxima in June and September. Most rainfall experienced is of conventional origin; however, various disturbances contribute to the rainfall especially between February and May. The mean daily relative humidity of the area is 81.65%.

1.7.3: Human Setting

According to 1991 census figure, the population of the area was put at 325,522 for Ikorodu Local Government Area (LGA), 181,914 for Kosofe. The indigenous dwellers of the area are mainly the Ijebus (a Yoruba sub-group). However, people from other parts of the country, as well as foreigners also inhabit the area. The major settlements within the study area include Ikorodu, Owutu, Ijede, Egbin, Ajegunle, Owode-Onirin, Kosofe, Osolo, Abule ipakodo and Majidun, as well as other minor settlements.

1.7.4 Economic activities

Farming, hunting and fishing have been the chief occupations of the local people for many decades. However, commerce and industry are other major human activities within the area. In Ikorodu area of the study area, most of the human activities are in cottage industries in area of mat making, tie and dye, weaving of basket and chair, fish smoking and food processing. There is presence of some manufacturing industries such as Ragolis Water Limited Ikorodu; Paterson and Zochonis (PZ) Industries PLC, Ikorodu and Dangote Spaghettis Industry in Ebute-Ipakodo. Around Kosofe area of the study area, there is presence of the Metal and spare parts market in Owode-Onirin, the Planet Plastic industries in Mile 12, sawmill (plank) industries, as well as the popular food market at Mile 12. Fishing activities are being carried out mainly in the following areas located within the study area: Ebute-Ipakodo, Majidun, Ajegunle, Owutu, Ketu-Alapere, Ogudu and Oworonsoki. In addition, there is sand mining activity around Majidun, Ajegunle and Oworonsoki, while firewood gathering is mostly restricted to Majidun area.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

  1. Non-standardization of data collection;
  2. Lack of appropriate materials and equipment for data collection, processing and storage/retrieval;
  3. The time frame for conducting this research was not enough to cover a wider area of study
  4. The paucity of fund available was also a major constraint.
  5. The unavailability of key stakeholders to respond to the questionnaires and interviews
  6. The unwillingness on the part of the respondents to release important and key information required for a proper analysis.

1.9 Contribution to Knowledge

In the Lagos Metropolis, many flooding mitigating measures have been taken on local level mainly by state agencies, Local Government, private companies and even local organizations and institutional bodies. This paper contributes intensively to identifying the societal and economical effects of the impacts of flooding on the activities of selected vulnerable communities in Lagos state.

This paper would contain data on, structural location and neighborhood characteristics of flood vulnerable communities in the Lagos state; it would also evaluate and compare changes in socio-economic activities in the selected areas with proximate and similar but flood free neighborhoods.

Furthermore, recommendations on plausible solutions in terms of mitigating and adaptation measures in light of flooding effects and the implementing strategies would be made as well as the structural analysis of both the positive and negative impacts of flooding on socio-economic activities in the selected area in Lagos state.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1. Summary

This study was carried out on the socio-economic effect of flooding on wetland. The research reviewed a wide range of secondary literature and collected primary data on which the conclusion and recommendations are based. The study was conducted within the Disaster Risk Reduction conceptual framework which emphasizes a proactive approach to disaster management. It is imperative that communities adopt a risk reduction approach to effects of floods.

The research endeavored to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the impact of floods on the socio –economic livelihoods of people in Ikorodu/Kosofe L.G.A?
  2. Who are the most vulnerable groups to floods and what are their coping strategies?
  3. What are the sustainable developmental and policy options to deal with the problem of floods?

The conclusion and recommendations were outlined and applied for inference and policy making.


5.2. Conclusion

As discussed under various sectors and across sectors, it is clear from the study that floods had adverse impact on the socio-economic status of livelihoods for people in Ikorodu/Kosofe L.G.A. To a large extent, the study has established that livelihood patterns play an important role in settlement patterns. It is also evident that there are varying underlying causes of people’s vulnerability and this poses a challenge for reducing or minimizing vulnerability Proximity to the flood prone area (57%), residing in flood prone area and poverty (18%) were identified as being the main underlying causes of vulnerability by the Ikorodu/Kosofe L.G.A. The study has further demonstrated that effects of floods in one sector can affect other sectors of society. For instance as discussed under the health section, the outbreak of disease incidences (malaria, diarrhea and coughing) was attributed to the impact of floods on water sources and sanitation facilities. The issue of water contamination of the river at the pick of floods and the handling of water from the borehole increases the health risk. Furthermore, although no health facility was damaged due to floods, accessibility to health services was a problem due to infrastructure (roads and bridges) damage as discussed under the health section. In addition school attendance was disrupted due to impassable roads as discussed under the education section.

From the study, it was clear that households cope differently when affected by floods. The current coping strategies being employed by most households are not very effective. Discussions at L.G.A and state levels established that the coping strategies were not sustainable because they had been using them and yet the situation did not seem to improve. The local communities coping capacities should not be underestimated but rather built upon. The focus must be on improving livelihood conditions of the people.

The communities should be encouraged to build houses using durable materials and away from the flood prone area as a way of coping with the floods. Further the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives should through the Extension Services encourage the communities to increase the area cultivated on the upland to enhance the food security at household level. Input support programme for the vulnerable but viable farmers should be considered.
Clearly, there is need to develop better and appropriate measures (as discussed under the implications and recommendations sections) to prepare and mitigate the effects of the floods there-of. Above all, the aim must be to involve all the players to enhance communities’ resilience to floods.


5.3 Recommendations

It is therefore appropriate in this chapter to highlight some policy consideration which, if implemented could play an important role in flood risk management. The following policy considerations are recommended:-

  1. Government and key stakeholders should engage communities in order for them to move permanently to higher grounds as they have expressed a willingness to relocate. The relocating should go with the provision of all the necessary socio amenities such as schools, hospitals, infrastructure, water and agriculture support for a period of three (3) years to enable the households to settle. Consideration should also be made to introduce alternative livelihood strategies in the new area of settlement.
  2. There should be a deliberate policy to compel communities especially in rural areas to build house using durable materials and away from the flood prone areas.
  3. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives should through Extension Services encourage Communities to increase area cultivated on the upland in order to enhance food security and household level.
  4. The relevant authorities should delineate both the non-flood areas and flood areas. The non-flood areas can serve as a temporary shelter for the settlements during floods.
  5. Construction of dams should be considered to trap the excess water. This could be used for irrigation.
  6. Construction of canals into the main Zambezi river should be considered.
  7. Government and key Stakeholders should engage the communities and local authorities in making them aware of the flood risk in view of the climate variability.
  8. L.G.A initiated mitigation measures should be promoted so as to build L.G.A resilience.
  9. In the long term, L.G.A based floods early warning system should be developed.
  10. Multi-sectoral approach to flood mitigation as opposed to single sector should be promoted as there are inter-linkages in terms of flood impact on various aspects of society.
5.3.1. Consideration for further research
  1. There is clearly a need for more research into the human adjustment to the flood hazard, particularly in terms of the perception and behavioral responses to floods. The aspect of early warning and how the information is utilized (what action is taken by the L.G.A when the warning is issued) should be investigated.
  2. There is need for further investigation (environmental impact assessment) on the proposal to construct canals in the flood affected area especially that floods are a natural phenomenon.

Socio-Economic Effect Of Flooding On Wetlands


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