Project DARWIN: Adaptation to the Risk of Flooding

African Development Bank
Zephyr Consulting
Lagos, Nigeria

Project DARWIN is a pilot project initiated by the African Development Bank, aiming to reduce flood impacts by using an innovative temporal dam. The responsibility of Nelen & Schuurmans was to provide hydrological analysis to determine the optimal location and configuration of the mobile dam. The project was implemented in close collaboration with local hydrologists, engineers and other stakeholders.

The challenge

Each year during the rainy season Omojuwa Estate in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, encounters severe flooding. As Lagos is one of the most densely urbanized regions in Africa, the yearly floods lead to tremendous socio-economic damages. These damages are both direct as indirect and impact many people in the city. As an example, people lose their property, are displaced, and transportation is interrupted. Since many people in Omojuwa Estate own shops, the lack of transportation impedes trading routes resulting in the loss of income and the increase in higher economic vulnerability.

Our solution

The Brinker Consortium, led by Zephyr Consulting, executed project DARWIN at Omojuwa Estate aiming to reduce flood risks. Project DARWIN is a pilot project as part of the Adaptation Benefits Mechanism (ABM) program initiated by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

The project aims to adapt to flood risks in Lagos by implementing an innovative water-filled flood barrier, called SLAMDAM. The determination of a proper location to demonstrate SLAMDAM technology depends on (1) the technical feasibility of SLAMDAM; is the ground surface sufficiently clear from sharp objects? (2) The community support of Omojuwa Estate; Does the local community support implementation of SLAMDAM and are they willing to cooperate? And (3) the effectiveness of the SLAMDAM; where and how can SLAMDAM impact flood patterns and the consequences of flooding?

The focus of Nelen & Schuurmans in the project was to assess the effectiveness of the SLAMDAM. Throughout the project, Nelen & Schuurmans answered the following question: “Where and when to deploy the SLAMDAM technology in case there is a threat of flooding at the Omojuwa Estate to prevent flood damages?”

The outcome

We worked together with local hydrologists, local engineers, and stakeholders to gain insight into the project area and its hydrological characteristics. With the knowledge of the area combined with Nelen & Schuurmans’ hydrodynamic simulation software 3Di, we were able to find the most feasible locations for SLAMDAM in Omojuwa Estate.

The potential effects of the SLAMDAM in Omojuwa Estate are:

  • Uninterrupted access to residences for over 5,000 people
  • Protection of more than 50 small scale retail businesses
  • Protection of Motherless baby (Mother Theresa Orphanage home)
  • Protection of public utilities including electricity network assets
  • Protection of more than ten religious centers
  • Protection of six primary schools

If you are interested in more information on project DARWIN, visit this website.

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