19.2.4 Runoff management
Runoff or storm water needs to be properly managed to ensure it does not have a damaging impact on property or health. In some areas, mostly in towns and cities, runoff is directed into stormwater canals; these need to be used properly and kept clear of debris. In rural areas, stormwater canals are rarely present; therefore, there needs to be pre-planning to effectively prevent runoff from entering households and public buildings, and running over the roads, as is frequently the case. Improperly managed flood water could cause a physical hazard to the community and can also cause outbreaks of waterborne diseases due to contamination of drinking water sources and food stocks.
To prevent the damaging effects of stormwater in your community, the likely routes of stormwater should first be identified, i.e. the location and direction of channels that tend to form in heavy rain. Once the scope of the problem is identified, then development agents, in consultation with the community leaders, can design and implement a solution. Where the community lives near dams or river banks that frequently burst during the rainy season, it is advisable to devise an early warning system at village level. This should be based on a study of past experiences and use relevant information from the local Meteorology Office and/or Agricultural Office.