The Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE) on Wednesday called for the development of a master drainage plan for cities and towns in order to curb the spate of floods.
It also called on government to empower the existing Hydrological Services Division under the Ministry of Water Resource, Works and Housing to have an oversight responsibility of co-ordinating and approving all drainage schemes.
This responsibility, it said, should cover schemes planned by various agencies such as local governments, road, utility agencies and real estate developers.
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on the perennial floods in the city, Ing. Dr. Essel Hagan, President of the Institution said there was the need to undertake emergency measures by opening up all existing drainage channels.
On June 2 and 3, this year, Accra West experienced floods and seven lives were lost and several properties destroyed. Traditional flood prone areas such as the Odaw basin did not experience any.
According to Ing. Dr Hagan, the worst forms of floods which used to hit Accra East area in the past, had shifted to the Accra West and attributed that to some recommendations the institution had put forward earlier.
Ing. Dr Hagan said the institution never anticipated any forms of floods in areas such as Darkuman and Mallam Junction, Gbawe Township and Santa Maria.
"The maximum rainfall figure recorded in Accra on June 2 and 3, 2007 was 60.1 millimetres which incidentally is comparatively the lowest of the maximum figures recorded in Accra since 2001.
It may be noted that the highest rainfall so far recorded over 24 hours in Accra since 2001 was I23.1 millimeters in 2002, he said.
The president noted that, "the maximum figures recorded over the two days were measured at Osu Presby in Accra East as 60.1 Millimetre (mm) and 26.5 mm whereas Weija recorded the lowest figures of 22.7 mm and 26.5 respectively."
Ing. Dr. Hagan said floods that occurred could not be attributed to natural causes but attributed them to human activities.
He pointed out the development of physical structures within waterways, deposition of solid and plastic waste in drains and inappropriate drainage structure as some of the causes of floods.
Others were lack of co-ordination among agencies involved in the planning, design and implementation of drainage schemes and rapid changes in the land use pattern, resulting in higher volumes of run-offs.
He recommended the provision of adequate funds in the development of budget for the implementation of drainage projects and political will to execute drainage projects.
Ing. Dr Hagan said the Ghana Institute of Engineers (GhIE) was ready to support government in formulating policies, design and implement the necessary interventions to address the perennial floods in Accra and the entire country.
He called on municipal and metropolitan assemblies and the media to step up more educational programmes to educate the public to desist from building on waterways.
Ing. Dr. Hagan said a draft Engineering bill, which would regulate engineering practice in the country, would be put before Parliament by the end of the year.
Ing. Kwabena Safo-Debrah, the immediate past president, GhIE, stressed the need to put up waste bins at vantage points to reduce littering in the metropolis.
He urged the public to be cautious about the environment and avoid throwing waste in drains.
Ing. Mr Safo-Debrah appealed to the various assemblies and governmental agencies to put in place sanctions that would deter the public from disposing waste in various drainage systems
"We can put up the best drainage system but if we continue to dispose our waste in them, the floods would continue to be with us," he added.