Nigerian communities relieved as Cameroon halts Ladgo Dam water release to prevent flooding.


The Nigerian government has announced that the Lagdo Dam’s managers in Cameroon have suspended their planned water release. Earlier, SaharaReporters highlighted concerns of potential flooding in Nigerian states like Kogi and Nasarawa due to the proposed dam opening.

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Cameroonian authorities had informed Nigeria about the intended water release, which posed a flood risk to some Nigerian regions. Ladan Ayuba, the Coordinator of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) in Yola, listed the susceptible states as Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Edo, Enugu, Anambra, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa. He explained that the gradual release was prompted by heavy rainfall in Cameroon.

However, the release hadn’t occurred yet. Ayuba stated, “When the water will be released depends on the agreement between the Nigerian Government and Cameroon. They have to agree on the modalities so that it will not cause havoc.”

There were concerns that multiple states could experience flooding, leading to loss of lives and property. In 2022, more than 600 Nigerians died, and over a million were displaced due to flooding. Nonetheless, Clement Nze, the Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, briefed journalists in Abuja about the August 2023 water releases from the Lagdo Dam. He revealed that the water release had been stopped by 11 a.m. on Monday, August 28, 2023.

Nze explained that in Nigeria, June marks the start of the hydrological year in the River Niger Basin, which spans nine West and Central African countries. Nigeria is downstream from all these countries in the basin. Nze said, “The months of July, August, September, and October of every year signify periods of heavy rainfall, flooding, and flood disasters in most parts of the country.” The Lagdo Dam is situated on the Benue River in the Niger Basin.

According to Nze, the Cameroonian authorities began releasing water from the Lagdo Dam at 10.10 a.m. on August 14, 2023. The release rate was 200 cubic meters per second, equivalent to about 18 million cubic meters of water per day. This release was planned for seven days as the reservoir level stood at 213.46 meters, just below the maximum permissible level of 214.02 meters. The situation was being monitored, and the spillway might be closed if no major inflow occurred.

By August 25, 2023, the water releases had reduced to 50 cubic meters per second, considered a normal reservoir operation that wouldn’t cause downstream flooding. However, by 5.46 p.m. on August 28, 2023, the hydrologist responsible for the dam informed Nze that they had stopped spilling water by 11.00 a.m. that day. The flow of the River Benue system remained steady, with the water level in Makurdi, Benue State, at 9.01 meters compared to 9.68 meters on the same date in 2022.

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