The Kainji dam project is located in the northwestern part of Nigeria across the Niger river at Kainji. The project was opened in 1969 and lies in a remote, thinly populated, and very poor part of Nigeria. The dam is 66 meters high and 55 meters long and has produced a man-made lake behind it known as lake Kainji (130 km long and 1300 kilometers square).
The following are problems created by the establishment of Kainji dam project:
- the decline in the fishing industry at the coast due to loss of silt deposits now settling out in the lake, which would support plankton growth.
- The delta has reduced in size as it is not receiving significant silt deposits, and hence currents are eroding the edge of the delta, and this limits coastal delta activities such as tourism.
- to the reservoir, the lake is a barrier to easy communication in the area since it occupies a large area
- The growth of urban centres is associated with various problems such as high crime rates, unemployment and overcrowding.
- Displacement of people by the formation of the Kainji dam reservoir. Many villages were submerged and over 60,000 people were displaced hence costly resettlement
- The high cost of resettling and rehabilitating the displaced people hence increased government expenditure
- The loss of grazing land since a large area formerly occupied by nomads was drowned by lake Kainji.
- the extension of perennial irrigation is resulting in stagnant water and this can lead to the spreading of waterborne diseases, especially bilharzia.
- Pollution of the environment due to the development of the industries and use of farm fertilizers in the irrigated fields which in turn reduces the quality of life
- Limitation of farming activities: this large farming land has been drowned by the lake
- The project has led to decline of farming activities in some parts of the Niger delta, due to loss of silt which used to maintain fertility since it now settles in the lake and yet the currents are eroding its edges.
The above problem can be solved by implementing the following steps:
- Resettling of the displaced people in other areas with careful planning.
- Spraying using chemicals to control pest and disease
- Improving medical services such as hospitals to control waterborne diseases
- Carrying out afforestation to compensate for destroyed vegetation in the lake area
- introducing of ferry or lake steamer to easy communication around the lake