The importance of effective drainage systems
Once again, the issue of flooding has been the talking point in many parts of Nigeria. Water is nature’s gift and we cannot live without it. However, there is a general responsibility on all of us to ensure adequate drainage systems are available and are kept free of all elements that can block them. As facilities managers, there is a professional responsibility to make sure the built environment has all the structures and systems in place which includes an effective drainage system.
A drainage system is an essential part of living. It is an infrastructure to dispose of liquid waste, excess water, and also used to get rid of human waste through a well arranged network of drainage pipes which can be called a sewage system. The importance of drainage systems cannot be overemphasized as poor drainage systems will have detrimental effects on the built environment already put in place.
We have experienced the terrible effects of not having good drainage systems during this year’s rainy season particularly where it has rained over long periods. Flooded roads and canals have become common place; it has been so bad at times that lives and property have been lost. We have seen in the media how established locations have been submerged in water and people having to use canoes on their once very dry streets to move around.
Our poor drainage systems apart from the flood that comes with it are also one of the major causes of the bad roads in the country. The flood experienced recently has definitely been a wake-up call for all Nigerians, the government, engineers and in particular facilities managers, on the need to work really hard to prevent a repeat and put in place proper systems to fix the problem.
There are various types of drainages, namely;
• Surface drains: They collect water from the road pavement and transport to a suitable disposal point (stream, valleys, etc.) and are used to collect wastewater that is not sewage. Using this type of drainage system to dispose of sanitary waste is extremely unhygienic and unsafe. It is not the best option as people often come in contact with it and, since they are open, any excess water can result in flooding.
• Sub-surface drains: They are also referred to as underground drainage as they form a complex network underground. They remove excess water that exists in the soil profile.
Poor drainage systems affect our environment even more so with climate change. There will be bad roads, blocked passages, flooding which may lead to loss of human life, damage to property, destruction of crops and other plants. It also affects our health as a result of exposure to numerous airborne diseases and waterborne diseases. For instance, stagnant water allows mosquitoes to breed and may cause malaria when they bite people.
In concluding, those in the facilities management industry should ensure a robust maintenance plan is in place for drainage systems wherever they may find themselves.
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