The quick implementation of the Greater Port Harcourt City Master Plan has been identified as a major solution to the flooding problems witnessed in some parts of the metropolis.
Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Rivers State Chapter, Dr. Chris Ibeakuzie made the observation, while commenting on the recent flooding that occurred in some parts of Port Harcourt on Tuesday following a heavy down pour.
Dr. Ibeakuzie said the new master plan initiated and endorsed by Governor Amaechi led administration has a fresh drain blue prints for both the old and the new cities.
He recalled that the Commander Dieta-Spiff administration had evolved a flood masterplan for the city in 1975, but that the blue print never saw the light of the day as a result of the coup de-tat of that year.
“Had that masterplan been implemented it would have gone a long way in solving the flood problems we are seeing now.
If you look at Diobu and Old Port Harcourt Township where there is well-laid layouts, you hardly experience flooding”, Dr. Ibeakuzie said.
Proffering solution to the problem he said, “for now, I would advise government to identify the natural drainages, then they can be placed on the map, immediately the natural drains are identified, they can link them to man-made ones”.
He dismissed the view that public/private partnership (PPP) can solve drainage problems such services cannot be levied on the public.
The Senior Lecturer in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the Rivers State University of Science and Technology further blamed land speculators and developers for causing most of the city’s flood problems.
According to him, when development are not regulated, house owners are liable to build on natural drains and thereby block pathways for free flow of water.
Similarly, some residents of Wonodi Street Rumuola have called on government to come to their rescue following flooding that overtook their properties on Tuesday.
A landlord, John Wonodi said the flooding has become intense over the years due to land speculators and developers who build on natural drains.
Mr. Wonodi called on the government to intervene by checking unapproved property development in the area. He noted that most houses in the vicinity do not have drains stretching to the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries premises in Port Harcourt.
Another resident, Nick Nebo stated that government should prevail on property owners in the area to create channels and drainages for proper flow of water in the area.
Mr. Nebo further suggested that government should demolish properties and structures blocking drains and water channels.