An assessment of flood mitigation measures in Accra, Ghana

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Flooding has been a perennial problem in parts of Accra for many years now resulting in loss of lives and properties. Some flood prone areas have received major flood management interventions from the government to prevent floods and others have not. This research sought to analyze the causes of flooding and assessed the effectiveness of flood controls to address the problem. To analyze the problem two communities in different parts of Accra namely, Glefe which is a coastal community and Alajo, located inland were selected for this study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with key city officials to identify the main causes of flooding and the flood control measures implemented. Surveys were held with home owners in the study communities to capture their views on causes of flooding as well as the effectiveness of mitigation measures implemented by either the government or themselves. The research found that storm drains had been constructed to prevent flooding in Alajo while Glefe had no major defence against flooding. The result was that Alajo no longer experienced flooding. Although Alajo has been a success story, the drains need regular maintenance and management by the Hydrological Services Department to desilt the drains and to sanction residents found dumping domestic wastes into the drains. In Glefe, the high sea waves persistently inundate dry lands while the two nearby lagoons (Dzatapkor and Gbugbe) are filled with refuse. Spells of rainfall cause the lagoons to overflow into the surrounding homes. Though home owners have made attempts like constructing temporary drains, clearing choked drains and building flood protection walls to mitigate the effects of the flood in Glefe, very minimal success has been achieved. The research recommends short and long term interventions to mitigate flooding in Glefe. Residents need to refrain from damaging activities like reclamation of the lagoons and sand mining. City officials also need to provide effective solutions to prevent flooding in Glefe. Solutions like building of a sea wall, demolishing buildings in encroached areas, drain improvement and total relocation of the community can be explored with funding from international development partners and the government.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management