Flooding and physical planning in urban areas in West Africa: Situational analysis of Accra, Ghana

Noah Karley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The need to explore the causes of the increasing incidences of flooding in West Africa in recent years motivated the investigation carried out in this research. It is natural to want to attribute the situation to climate change and the increased occurrences of high intensity rainfall predicted as a consequence. However, flooding and the devastation caused by it are not just determined by rainfall and runoff; human influences which significantly modify the nature of the ground surface and its hydrological response to rainfall do also play a major role. The research used Accra as a case study city and involved a visit to the city to interview local experts, officials of agencies responsible for flooding matters and physical planning. The visit also involved collection of data relevant to the problem and afforded the physical inspection of the infrastructural facilities in place for coping with the flooding problems. Analysis of the data revealed that for the city, there is no evidence that unusual rainfall has been occurring recently that could explain the increased occurrences of flooding being experienced. Rather, the cause of the problem is the lack of, drainage facilities to collect the storm water for safe disposal. These could in turn be attributed to the ineffective planning regulations which either ignore or even condone the illegal erection of buildings and other structures on floodplains, and the unhealthy habit of dumping refuse and other solid wastes in the usually open channel drainage systems. It is recommended that in order to have a long-lasting solution to the flooding problems, the city and others in similar situation should embrace sustainable urban drainage systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-41
    JournalTheoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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