Reducing the Effects of Climate Change Through the Restoration of Inland Urban Water Ecology in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
Keywords:Community participation, Climate policy, Ecology restoration, Urban water bodies
In urban development, water bodies and wetlands, the ecological resources suffer degradation and disequilibrium. This often leads to the destruction of vegetation, soil degradation, and aquatic and marine life which escalates the effects of climate change. The paper examines this situation as it affects the two water bodies of Nworie and Otamiri rivers in Owerri urban, with a view to proffering strategies for restoring the ecology of the rivers and mitigating the effects of climate change. Historically, the rivers formed the socio-economic, socio-cultural and environmental backbone for Owerri urban. However, over the years, the surrounding rainforest vegetation, wetlands, and river bank have been destroyed, leading to ecological disequilibrium, erosion and pollution. The paper identifies the components of the river ecosystem along the river stretch and identifies some of the resulting ecological problems using satellite technology, Geographic Information System, and Geographic Positioning System. It found that it is possible to restore the ecology of the growing urban area through replanting of local cash economic trees, re-grassing, community participation, and repopulation of the aquatic and marine elements. It is also possible to restore the recreational potential of the rivers and improve tourism, urban agriculture and economy. It is therefore proposed that a policy direction that can not only restore the ecology of urban water bodies but also improve the management of ecological resources of other emerging urban areas should be pursued.