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Some environmental effects of flooding in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria was reviewed to provide the desired knowledge needed for the effective management of flooding. Floods are caused by many factors: Heavy rainfall, highly accelerated snowmelt, severe winds over water, unusual high tide, tsunamis, or failure of dams, levees, retention ponds, or other structures that retained the water. Flooding can be exacerbated by increased amounts of impervious surface or by other natural hazards such as wildfires, which reduce the supply of vegetation that can absorb rainfall. The effects of flooding from the sources outlined above are felt by various 'receptors'. These include, people, buildings, infrastructure, agriculture, open recreational space and the natural world. Flood warning is the provision of advance warning of conditions that are likely to cause flooding to property and a potential risk to life.
1.1 Background of the study
Flooding is one of the major environmental crises one has to contend with within the century. This is especially the case in most wetlands of the world. The reason of this is the general rise in sea level globally, due to global warming as well as the saturated nature of the wetlands in the Niger Delta. Periodic floods occur on many rivers, forming a surrounding region known as flood plain. Rivers overflow for reasons like excess rainfall. The good thing about river overflows is the fact that as flood waters flow into the banks, sand, silt and debris are deposited into the surrounding land. After the river water subsided and go back to its normal flow, the deposited materials will help make the land richer or more fertile. The organic materials and minerals deposited by the river water keep the soil fertile and productive (Abowei and Sikoki, 2005)
The main purpose of flood warning is to save life by allowing people, support and emergency services time to prepare for flooding. The secondary purpose is to reduce the effects and damage of flooding. Floods renew wetland areas which in turn host a wide range of flora and fauna. Preventing flood waters from entering such wetland areas will create imbalance to the natural state of things resulting to destruction of natural habitats and even extinction of various species of animals and plants. Floods play an important part in various ecosystems. Humans, therefore, should be careful when they try to prevent or control floods. Oftentimes, human intervention causes more harm than good. During times of rain or snow, some of the water is retained in ponds or soil. Some is absorbed by grass and vegetation, some evaporates and rest travels over the land as surface runoff. Flood occurs when ponds, lakes, riverbeds, soil and vegetation cannot absorb all the water. Water the runs off the land in quantities that cannot be carried within stream channels or retained in natural ponds, lakes and manmade reservoirs. About 30% of all precipitation becomes runoff and that amount might be increased by water from melting snow. A flood that raises rapidly, with little or no relatively small area, or if, the area was already saturated from previous precipitation (Henry, 2006). During flooding water supplies that result in contamination of water (water pollution). Clean drinking water becomes scarce. Unhygienic conditions and Spread of water-borne diseases result. People, buildings, infrastructure, agriculture, open recreational space and the natural world. In extreme cases flooding may cause a loss of life. Torrential rains pushed rivers over their banks, collapsed mud houses and washed away livestock (Adelye and Rustum, 2011). Damage bridges and caused a dam to overflow, submerging buildings, displacement from homes, the loss of personal valuables and the ongoing fear and insecurity caused by the experience. Potable water supplies may be lost or contaminated in a flood and this can have immediate health effects upon people and animals. The economy can also be severely affected by flooding. Businesses may lose stock, patronage, data and productivity and disruption to utilities and transport infrastructure can have knock-on effects to a wider area. Tourism, farming and livestock can equally be affected. Vital infrastructure may also be damaged or disrupted. Electricity and gas supplies can be interrupted to individual properties but also to wider communities if sub stations and transformers themselves are flooded. Road links, railways, canals etc., may be blocked causing disruption to the wider transport network and accessibility severely disrupted for local inhabitants, especially amongst those considered most vulnerable and loss of communications networks (Adelye and Rustum, 2011).
People, floods can be quite beneficial. Actually, believe it or not, nature benefits more from natural floods than from not having them at all. The thing that makes natural floods a disaster is when flood waters occur in areas populated by humans and in areas of significant human development. Otherwise, when left in its natural state, the benefits of floods outweigh the adverse effects (Bradshaw et al., 2007). However, too much sand deposit will do the opposite. For farmers that maintain their crops along rivers, they should not feel threatened by yearly flooding. This gives their farm lands better soil consistencies and keeps their land fertile resulting to better harvests each year. Instead of preventing the natural flow of river floods, it might be beneficial in the long run to allow the flood waters to encroach into their lands (Hill, 1976). It was how nature intended it to be in the first place. However, there may be limits to how much farmers can tolerate such natural occurrences. One has to increase production to feed the demands of the human populace. Great examples of how river overflows benefit humans are in the Nile River and the Mississippi delta. Farmers in Egypt have long equated river floods to high harvest rates. The higher the flood waters from the river, the better the harvest for that year. However, the case of the Mississippi delta is a little different (O’Connor and John, 2004). The Mississippi River naturally overflows and leaving behind huge deposits of sediments. In time these sediments created lands which are now identified as part of the Mississippi delta. But when humans began settling in along the river banks, they constructed complicated and elaborate systems to prevent or control the flood waters from the Mississippi river. Without the regular sediment deposits that the land along the area of the Mississippi delta receives from the river, the land begins to sink. Each year the Mississippi delta becomes dryer and sinks more and more (Rosenberg and Snor, 1975). The two primary causes are climate change, resulting in increased severity and intensity of rainfall and new developments on floodplains, which are they at risk of flooding and which increase the risk of flooding down stream. A review of some environmental effects of flooding in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria provides the desired knowledge needed for the effective management of flooding. The meaning of flooding, basic background of the Niger Delta causes of flooding, types of flooding, factors determining the effect of flooding, the effects o flooding, benefits of flooding and control of flooding with emphasis on some countries to provide the desired knowledge needed for the effective management of flooding in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Land has been man most valued asset over the years because it is believed that land as a factor of production always appreciate in value irrespective of the fact that it is limited in supply, however land as other factor of production do also depreciate in value, this depreciation comes as a result of flooding, pollution and degradation.
The effect of flooding on land utilization and disaster prevention becomes cumbersome due to the ever increasing population growth.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to ascertain the effect of flooding and land utilization; disaster prevention in Nigeria. However, the researcher wishes to accomplish the following sub objective at the completion of the study:
i) To ascertain the effect of flooding on land utilization
ii) To evaluate the relationship between flooding and disaster
iii) To ascertain ways of controlling flooding to enhanced disaster prevention
iv) To ascertain ways of eradicating the impact of flooding in our society.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
For the successful completion of this study, the following research questions were formulated:
i) What is the effect of flooding on land utilization?
ii) What is the relationship between flooding and disaster on land utilization?
iii) In what ways can flooding be controlled in other to prevent disaster?
iv) What are the ways of eradicating the impact of flooding?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is conceived that at the completion of this study, the findings will be beneficial to the environmental agency who are charge with the responsibility of enforcing policy and implementation of the policy formulated in other to mitigate the harsh effect of flooding in the society.
The study will also be of benefit to the ministry of environment in their quest to combat flooding and give us a healthier environment and disaster free society.
Finally it is conceived that at the completion of this study, the findings will be of benefit to students, teachers, lecturers, academia, researchers and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study covers the effect of flood on land utilization; disaster prevention in Nigeria. However, the study is constrained or limited by some factors which are beyond the researchers control, which are:
1. Time factor: time was not on the researchers to consult various sectors of the economy to review employees or given out questionnaire to various institutions on the effect of government revenue policies.
As we all know, time is never our friend. The time scheduled for the completion of this research thesis was too short. As a result, generating information/data was strenuous as it coincides with final year examination period, which needed attention.
2. Finance: this is another barrier that limited the researcher’s work.
3. Available resources: was unavailable for the research work.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land which is usually dry. The European Union (EU) Floods Directive defines a flood as a covering by water of land not normally covered by water. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide.
Flooding may occur as an overflow of water from water bodies, such as a river, lake, or ocean, in which the water overtops or breaks levees, resulting in some of that water escaping its usual boundaries, or it may occur due to an accumulation of rainwater on saturated ground in an area flood. While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt, these changes in size are unlikely to be considered significant unless they flood property or drown domestic animals.
Floods can also occur in rivers when the flow rate exceeds the capacity of the river channel, particularly at bends or meanders in the waterway. Floods often cause damage to homes and businesses if they are in the natural flood plains of rivers. While riverine flood damage can be eliminated by moving away from rivers and other bodies of water, people have traditionally lived and worked by rivers because the land is usually flat and fertile and because rivers provide easy travel and access to commerce and industry
Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as settlements and semi-natural habitats such as arable fields, pastures, and managed woods. It also has been defined as "the total of arrangements, activities, and inputs that people undertake in a certain land cover type.
Disaster management (or emergency management) is the creation of plans through which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters. Disaster management does not avert or eliminate the threats; instead, it focuses on creating plans to decrease the effect of disasters. Failure to create a plan could lead to human mortality, lost revenue, and damage to assets. Currently in the United States 60 percent of businesses do not have emergency management plans. Events covered by disaster management include acts of terrorism, sabotage, fire, natural disasters (such as earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.), public disorder, industrial accidents, and communication failure
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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