The Federal Government of Nigeria announced on Tuesday that the extensive water release from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam, which had raised concerns about potential widespread flooding in 11 Nigerian states, has been stopped.
The announcement was made during a press briefing held in Abuja, shedding light on the events surrounding the August 2023 water releases from the Lagdo Dam.
Clement Nze, the Director-General of Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, provided insights into the situation and its resolution.
Press Briefing on Lagdo Dam
“Every year, the month of June marks the beginning of a new hydrological year in the River Niger Basin, covering nine countries in West and Central Africa,” explained Nze.
In his address, Nze highlighted Nigeria’s downstream position in the basin, stating, “Nigeria is situated downstream from all the countries within this basin, and we are actively engaged in the Niger Basin Authority based in Niamey, Niger Republic.”
“The months of July, August, September, and October usually bring heavy rainfall, flooding, and flood-related disasters to various parts of our country,” Nze added.
The release of water from the Lagdo Dam commenced on August 14, 2023, as communicated by the Cameroonian hydrologist in charge of the dam.
“The Cameroonian authorities commenced the release of water from Lagdo Dam by 10.10 a.m. on August 14, 2023.
“This was communicated to the DG of NIHSA on August 23, 2023, by the Cameroonian hydrologist in charge of the dam,” Nze said.
“The release rate was initially set at 200 cubic meters per second, equivalent to around 18 million cubic meters of water per day,” Nze elaborated, indicating the scale of the operation.
Nze added, “According to the (Cameroonian) official, this exercise will continue for the next seven days seeing that the reservoir level currently stands at 213.46m and the maximum permissible level of the reservoir is 214.02m.”
As the days progressed, the release rate gradually decreased, with Nze stating, “By August 25, 2023, the flow from the reservoir had decreased to 50 cubic meters per second, which posed negligible flood risk downstream.”
“On August 28, 2023, at 5:46 p.m., the hydrologist in charge of the Lagdo Dam informed the Director-General of NIHSA that the water release had been halted as of 11:00 a.m. that same day,” Nze revealed.