ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF FLOODING ON AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN KWALE AND ITS ENVIRONS


ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF FLOODING ON AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN KWALE AND ITS ENVIRONS

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF FLOODING ON AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN KWALE AND ITS ENVIRONS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the Study

This study focuses on the environmental impacts of flooding on agricultural activities in Kwale and its environs. Flooding has been a long-term issue which affects the inhabitants of Kwale. In many natural systems, floods play an important role in maintaining key ecosystem functions and biodiversity. They link the river with the land surrounding it, recharge groundwater systems, fill wetlands, increase the connectivity between aquatic habitats, and move both sediment and nutrients around the landscape, and into the marine environment (Apan, et al., 2010). For many species, floods trigger breeding events, migration, and dispersal. These natural systems are resilient to the effects of all but the largest floods. The environmental benefits of flooding can also help the economy through things such as increased fish production, recharge of groundwater resources, and maintenance of recreational environments (Bunn and Arthington, 2002).

          The environmental resources in Kwale most especially the land and soil resources are greatly threaten by flooding. The Kwale and its environ is covered by beautiful vegetation naturally checking the menace. This flooding menace has destroyed arable land for agricultural purposes which are the major socio-economic activities of the Kwale people. The government in his attempt to curb the situation has constructed a drainage system some meters away from the major road to redirect and channel all the water flowing to the erosion sites into the drainage system which is emptied into the river. Despite all this effort, the situation still remains the same.

Areas that have been highly modified by human activity tend to suffer more deleterious effects from flooding. Floods tend to further degrade already degraded systems. Removal of vegetation in and around rivers, increased channel size, dams, levee bank and catchment clearing all work to degrade the hill-slopes, rivers and floodplains, and increase the erosion and transfer of both sediment and nutrients (Douglas, et al., 2005). While cycling of sediments and nutrients is essential to a healthy system, too much sediment and nutrient entering a waterway has negative impacts on downstream water quality. Other negative effects include loss of habitat, dispersal of weed species, the release of pollutants, lower fish production, loss of wetlands function, and loss of recreational areas (Kingsford, 2000).

          Flooding is one of the environmental problems that have confronted man since immemorial. Flooding is a widespread and age long phenomenon. In Kwale, flooding has created and causes untold hardship such as destruction of building and properties, interruption of socio-economic development of the area. Jon (2011), defined flooding as a condition, which exist when any overland flow over an urban or rural area, that is sufficient to cause property damage, health hazard, nuisance and the obstruction of the socio-economic activities in the area. He went further the types of flooding to include rivers flood, flash flood, splash flood and flood bondages.

Agriculture has changed significantly in terms of the production patterns and structure and a significant trend has been the development towards fewer and larger holdings with more intensified and specialized production. This development has included an increased mechanization and use of fertilizers and pesticides. Biodiversity has been affected negatively both by the physical changes in the landscape and by the changes in the production methods. As the agricultural production has intensified, all levels of biological diversity (genetic, species, and

habitats) have declined in farming environments. The more intensive land use corresponds for example to the decrease in the populations of farmland birds.

Many of our coastal resources, including fish and other forms of marine production, are dependent on the nutrients supplied from the land during floods. The negative effects of floodwaters on coastal marine environments are mainly due to the introduction of excess sediment and nutrients, and pollutants such as chemicals, heavy metals and debris. These can degrade aquatic habitats, lower water quality, reduce coastal production, and contaminate coastal food resources (Poff, et al., 2003). It is against this background that this study is carried out to examine the environmental impacts of flooding on agricultural activities in Kwale and its environs. 

1.2     Statement of Problem

          Flooding in key agricultural production areas can lead to widespread damage to crops and fencing and loss of livestock. Crop losses through rain damage, waterlogged soils, and delays in harvesting are further intensified by transport problems due to flooded roads and damaged infrastructure. The flow-on effects of reduced agricultural production can often impact well outside the production area as food prices increase due to shortages in supply (Prosser, et al., 2001). On the other hand, flood events can result in long-term benefits to agricultural production by recharging water resource storages, especially in drier, inland areas, and by rejuvenating soil fertility by silt deposition (Apan, et al., 2010).

Damage to public infrastructure affects a far greater proportion of the population than those whose homes or businesses are directly inundated by the flood. In particular, flood damage to roads, rail networks and key transport hubs, such as shipping ports, can have significant impacts on regional and national economies. Short-term downturns in regional tourism are often experienced after a flooding event. While the impact on tourism infrastructure and the time needed to return to full operating capacity may be minimal, images of flood affected areas often lead to cancellations in bookings and a significant reduction in tourist numbers (Apan, et al., 2010).

Flooding of urban areas can result in significant damage to private property, including homes and businesses. Losses occur due to damage to both the structure and contents of buildings. Insurance of the structure and its contents against flooding can reduce the impacts of floods on individuals or companies. As most people are well aware, the immediate impacts of flooding include loss of human life, damage to property, destruction of crops, loss of livestock, and deterioration of health conditions owing to waterborne diseases. As communication links and infrastructure such as power plants, roads and bridges are damaged and disrupted, some economic activities may come to a standstill, people are forced to leave their homes and normal life is disrupted (Kingsford, 2000).

Similarly, disruption to industry can lead to loss of livelihoods. Damage to infrastructure also causes long-term impacts, such as disruptions to supplies of clean water, wastewater treatment, electricity, transport, communication, education and health care. Loss of livelihoods, reduction in purchasing power and loss of land value in the floodplains can leave communities economically vulnerable. Floods can also traumatise victims and their families for long periods of time. The loss of loved ones has deep impacts, especially on children (Bunn and Arthington, 2002). Displacement from one's home, loss of property and disruption to business and social affairs can cause continuing stress. For some people the psychological impacts can be long lasting. Floods impact on both individuals and communities, and have social, economic, and environmental consequences. The consequences of floods, both negative and positive, vary greatly depending on the location and extent of flooding, and the vulnerability and value of the natural and constructed environments they affect (Douglas, et al., 2005). This study “environmental impacts of flooding on agricultural activities in Kwale and its environs” is therefore carried out to address the aforementioned problems.

1.3     Aim and Objectives of the Study

          The main of this study is to examine the environmental impacts of flooding on agricultural activities in Kwale and its environs. The specific objectives of this study includes:

1.     To examine the environmental impacts of flooding on agricultural activities in the study area;

2.     To identify the causes of flooding in the area;

3.     To examine the consequent effect of flooding on agricultural activities in the study area;

4.     To identify the various types of farm practices and agricultural productivity in the study area;

5.     To identify the problems of flooding and areas seriously affected by flooding in the study area; and

6.     To suggest mitigation measures to control the problems of flooding in Kwale and its environs.

1.4     Research Questions

          The following question(s) raised by the researcher will be answered in this study;

1.     What are the environmental impacts of flooding on agricultural activities in the study area?

2.     What are the causes of flooding in the area?

3.     What are the consequent effects of flooding on agricultural activities in the study area?

4.     What are the various types of farm practices and agricultural productivity in the study area?

5.     What are the problems of flooding and areas seriously affected by flooding in the study area?

6.     What do you think are the mitigation measures to control the problems of flooding in Kwale and its environs?

1.5     Research Hypothesis

          The following hypothesis stated in the null and alternative form will be tested in this study;

1.     There is no significant relationship between the environmental impacts of flooding and the various types of farm practices/agricultural productivity in Kwale and its environs.

2.     Crop yield is not significantly dependent on flooding and heavy rainfall in Kwale.

3.     Occurrence of flooding in Kwale is not significantly depended on heavy rainfall, lack of drainage system.

1.6     Significance of the Study

          This study will cover the whole of Kwale and its environs and its to look at the environmental impacts of flooding on agricultural activities in Kwale and its environs. It would also offer suggestion (s) on the causes of flooding and its effect on agricultural activities in the study area.

          Therefore, the study will help to unfold the deteriorating effects of flooding on agricultural activities in Kwale and its environs and other related land use in Kwale, and also to look at the various cause (s) of flooding and the areas mostly affected by flooding in the study area and also to look at or proffer solution (s) to combat flooding problem (s) on agricultural activities and socio-economic life of the people in the study area.

1.7 STUDY AREA

          The study area (Kwale) is located in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State and it’s the administrative headquarters of Ndokwa West L.G.A of Delta State.

1.7.1  Location and Size

          Kwale is located between latitude 60 09N and 60 29N of the equator and longitude 50301E and 60031E of the Green Witch meridian. Kwale is a town in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta in southern Nigeria. As a matter of fact, it is the headquarter of Ndokwa West Local Government Area which occupies an area of 816km2. Like any other community, Kwale is divided into six (6) quarters as follows: Umusederi, Isumpe, Umusam, Umusadege, Umuseti and Ogbe-ani. Majority of the population of Kwale are affected by water pollution due to presence of oil companies in the area such as Agip Petroleum Company, Sterling Global Company etc. and the people are prompt to different kinds of diseases. The area also experience destruction of fishes, plants animal life.

 

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Source: Ministry lands, survey and Urban Development Asaba (2004).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fig 1.2: Map of Kwale in Ndokwa West L.G.A

Fig 1.2: Map of Kwale showing the quarters

 

1.7.2  Relief and Drainage

          The topography is a low plain with elevation of 21 meters above sea level (Ndakara, 2011). The area consists mainly of sedimentary rocks formations deposited in three cycles of marine transgression.

          According to Odemerho (2007) the surficial geology comprises the sombreiro-warri deltanic plan formation. The sombreiro-warri, am area also referred to as the “Urhobo Plains” (Aweto, 1987).

          The soil in this study area, like those of the forest ecosystems difference somewhat in different areas of the region, mainly in response to pollutions experience in the area and the underlying parent materials. The soil classified according to the U.S soil taxonomy system (soil survey staff, 1994) under the Affisls, Oxisols/utisols orders.

          Warn temperatures and abundant available of moisture increases the rate of leading in utisols, and this cause the soil to have low qualities of base cation. Also, the nature of the land makes for severe water erosion during and after rainfall.

          The velocity of the water is high as it flown along the sloppy surface because of the factors of pollution e.g oil spillage, surface run-off containing pesticides and insecticides, discharge of untreated sewage, industrial discharge of chemicals waste and by product, underground storage tank leakage lending to soil contamination etc. The rivers and creeks in this area are bordered by natural leaves, which are of great topographical importance because this is where most farming activities takes place.

 

 

1.7.3  Climate

          Kwale is located with humid-sub tropical climate of AF Koppen’s classification with annual rainfall above 200mm and average temperature between 250c – 280c with little variation throughout the year (Efe, 2006).

          Kwale is characterized with two climate season which are wet and dry season. The wet season starts from April and ends in October. Rainfall is heaviest during the month of July and decreases towards the month of August. Another period of heavy rainfall is experience in September which decreases towards the month of October. There is rainfall break in the month of August for which the atmospheric condition is dry, sunny and brings temporary relief during the wet season and this is referred to as August break.

          The dry season commerce in November and ends in March, December to early February usually experience dry, dusty and cold wind known as harmattan. It is characterized by the prevailing tropical hot climate registering annual temperature between 220C to 330C. Kwale also experience tidal flood rise about 12m to 14m submerging land surface depending on the volume of water in a particular year.

1.7.4  Vegetation

          The natural vegetation of the area is moist evergreen tropical rainforest with tree form ranging in strata from shrubs to tall members. The natural vegetation has been affected by man owing to the prevalence of agricultural activities, construction, mining etc such that the originally contiguous ecosystem now feature as forest islands (Ndakara 2008: 2011).

          Agricultural practices of clearing and burning of forests, mining, construction, drilling etc. has impacted much of the environment  and this owes much to the opening up of the forest covers to various weather and climate effects, while the tress do not easily allow regeneration due to their morphological attributes. The trees, which usually shield up the soil from the direct effects of winds and rain have given way to the torture of the environmental attributes thereby leading to flooding and erosion in the farmland areas as well as within the settlement area. One of the most ravaging flood event in Kwale was the 2012 flood that almost wiped out the community. The effect was felt directly in lives, properties and commercial activities such as hawking, marketing, transportation etc.

          The natural vegetation in this area has been affected because of the factors of pollution such as oil spillage, application of herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers during agricultural activities, discharge of untreated sewage, industrial discharge of chemical waste and by products, underground storage tank leakage leading to soil contamination, flooding, desertification and drought in the area.

1.7.5  Soil

          The soil in Kwale could be classified according to the U.S soil taxonomy system (soil survey staff, 1994) under the Affisls, Oxisols/Utisols orders.

          Alfisols are moderately fertile soil that form under forest, vegetation where the parent materials have undergone significant weathering. Warm temperature and abundant availability of moisture increases the rate of leaching in utisols, and this cause the soil to have low qualities of base cation. The area also consist of sedimentary rocks formation deposited in three cycles of marine transgression.

          The soil could also be classified as sandy loamy and it is very porous, a condition that makes for high percolation of water and mineral. It is also slightly acidic in nature.

          The soil in this area have been affected by different factor of pollution such as mining construction, agricultural activities, drilling etc has impacted much of the environment and this owes much to the opening up of the sol which has resulted in flooding, drought, desertification, water and soil erosion.   

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF FLOODING ON AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN KWALE AND ITS ENVIRONS

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This study focuses on the environmental impacts of flooding on agricultural activities in Kwale and its environs. Flooding has been a long-term issue which affects the inhabitants of Kwale. In many natural systems, floods play an important role in maintaining key ecosystem functions and biodiversity. They link the river with the land surrounding it, recharge groundwater systems, fill wetlands, increase the connectivity between aquatic habitats, and move both sediment and nutrients around the landscape, and into the marine environment (Apan, et al., 2010). For many species, floods trigger breeding events, migration, and dispersal. .. geography project topics

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF FLOODING ON AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN KWALE AND ITS ENVIRONS

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