Contested causes of flooding in poor urban areas in Accra, Ghana: an actor-oriented perspective

Abstract

It is well known that urbanisation and climate change are likely to induce more floods in existing flood-prone African cities. Previous contributions on the causes of flooding in urban areas mostly do not consider the actors involved in adaptation and do not acknowledge the diversity of knowledge they possess. In this study, the causes of urban floods in an African city are explored from an actor-oriented perspective. The Kendall coefficient of concordance method is used to analyse interviews with household members and community leaders living in flood-prone communities as well as technocrats involved in public flood adaptation at the metropolitan level. The level of agreement on the causes of flooding is low among the actors, making the case for integrating informal actors into the formal flood adaptation structures at the metropolitan level. This will harness the diversity of knowledge on how flood risk unfolds for the purpose of local adaptation to urban floods in African cities.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Panbros Salt Manufacturing Company Limited is a leading salt manufacturing firm in West Africa with the capacity to produce 45,000 tonnes per annum. The company owns and operates an 11,000-ha concession in the Densu Ramsar site in the western part of Accra. The concession shares a common boundary with Glefe and Mpoase in the east at the Gyatakpo lagoon. In 1992, the company created an embankment around its salt ponds and undertook diversionary works at the estuary of the Gyatakpo lagoon. As part of the civil works, a cross-culvert was created within the embankment near Glefe to allow excess seawater backfill into the Gyatakpo lagoon during high tide in order to balance the flow in the salt ponds. The culvert was blocked during low tide to prevent reverse flow of contaminated lagoon water into the salt ponds. These measures were to protect their operations from pollution from the residents of Glefe, Mpoase and other communities in the catchment, which was contaminating their flows and salt.

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Abeka, E., Asante, F.A., Laube, W. et al. Contested causes of flooding in poor urban areas in Accra, Ghana: an actor-oriented perspective. Environ Dev Sustain 22, 3033–3049 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-019-00333-4

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Keywords

  • Flooding
  • Actors
  • Knowledge
  • Interest
  • Urban poverty