If proper checks and balances are not kept in place, the rapid climate changes currently aggravating will cause indelible effects on the environment and the property sector. Climate is basically defined as the weather conditions prevailing in an area over a long period.
The effect of global warming (gradual increase in the earth’s surface temperature) has led to severe climatic changes that have resulted in the rapid sea level rise, increase evaporation and precipitation rate to affect global cloud cover and is changing the distribution of climate across the surface of the planet.
Arguably, the rate of flooding occurring in recent times has been unprecedented. With 70 million people globally exposed to flooding every year, and more than 800 million living in flood prone areas, climate change with more frequent and severe rainfall events, sea level rise, rapid population growth and development on floodplains, proper and effective methods need to be adopted to protect lives, property and safe guard the environment.
In Nigeria, it is estimated that flooding has affected more than 11 million lives with a considerable number of deaths and property damage exceeding US$17 billion. More frequent floods in the country have been experienced in parts Lagos, Niger, Adamawa, Oyo, Gombe, Benue, Ogun and Kastina states, and experts attribute some of this flood to the possible influence of rivers Niger, Benue, Ogun, and Hadeja.
Causes of Flood
Besides the natural causes of flooding which includes; Intensive rainfall, overflowing water bodies, nature of soil and hurricanes, other man-made factors equally contribute to flooding. These factors are;
- Poor waste disposal
- Poor land use policy planning and management
Impact of Flooding on the Property Sector and the Environment
The country has experienced devastating floods which affected millions of people and caused financial losses amounting to billions of US dollars. Although in recent times, various methods have been adopted in an attempt to curtail, tackle and minimize the adverse effect of flooding both on lives and property, the recurrent flood incidence in most parts of the nation reveals the need to do more to reduce the incidence of flooding in the nation.
Flooding cause damages to businesses and infrastructure, such as transport or utilities like electricity and water supply, can have significant detrimental impacts on local and regional economies. Other impacts of flooding on the property are; reduction of the property life span, reduction of rental prices, increase the cost of repair and facilities maintenance etc.
Detrimental effects on the environment caused by flooding can include soil erosion, bank erosion, land sliding and damage to vegetation as well as the impacts on water quality, habitats and flora and fauna caused by bacteria and other pollutants carried by flood water
Role of the Built Sector in the Controlling Flood
It is well known that the success of flood risk reduction depends on to a large extent on the knowledge-based decision, robust institutional framework and flood risk communication. Hence understanding flood risk is a key step in managing the impacts of flooding.
The built and property sector of can properly engineer more structures such as dams, bridges and also adequately integrate drainage systems and channel them properly to dams or the necessary water bodies. Developers also need to make proper research to identify flood plain zones and avoid building properties in the flood prone areas.
An integrated approach to tackle the incidence of flooding requiring both local and international interventions would have to be put in place. These checks could include early warning and rapid response systems, flood data gathering and modeling, proper urban and spatial planning, flood emergency preparedness and regulatory policies.
Equally, the government can empower universities and research agencies to include in their curriculum studies and programs tailored towards improving flood awareness and management. Flood alert and flood early warning systems should be introduced and utilized at all levels of flood disaster management.