The Three-dimensional Causes of Flooding in Accra, Ghana

Accra-floods, Nadmo Floods, Article by Daniel Amewor.

Accra-floods, Nadmo Floods, Article by Daniel Amewor

The perceived and actual causes of flood hazards in cities of sub-Saharan African countries have come under tremendous debate. In Accra, the capital of Ghana, flooding has been the key source of human vulnerability. Studies carried out on flood vulnerability in the city have given varied attributions to their frequent occurrences.

In “The three-dimensional causes of flooding in Accra, Ghana” published in the International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, the authors comprehensively explore the various causes of flood hazards in our bid to set the stage for an integrated approach to flood management. Using mixed methods including document reviews, institutional consultations and key informant interviews, the study categorizes all the causes of flood hazards in Accra into three broad but interrelated thematic areas presenting a platform for integrated flood management. The study therefore recommends a comprehensive and integrated approach to flood management that takes into consideration the peculiarities of local physical, social, and political conditions. 

The integrated flood risk management proposes proactive infrastructure, institutional, and policy measures that address three causes of flooding in urban Accra, Ghana: urbanization and slum development; rainfall intensity and poor management of surface runoff; and actual and perceived impacts of climate change. A key aspect of this framework is how it views the perennial floods in Accra as an ‘unmanaged opportunity’; that is, an opportunity, for instance, to harvest rainwater to address the perennial water shortage especially among low-income communities in Accra. Translating this framework into actionable policy remains the key focus in the next steps.

Clifford, A., & Frimpong Boamah, E.  (2015). The three-dimensional causes of flooding in Accra, Ghana. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 7(1), 109-129.

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah

Co-lead, Food Equity Team; Assistant Professor

Urban and Regional Planning and Community for Global Health Equity