Category Archives: General

Land subsidence causing San Francisco Tower’s Sinking Seen From Space?

This report by Associated Press summarizes how many factors can come into play when an engineering structure is failing or is responding to forces unleashed  on it after it has been completed. The forces could be man-made such as ground water abstraction or withdrawal or it could be due to structural geologic features that were overlooked or underestimated during the planning stages. The problem of the San Francisco tower should be a good interdisciplinary case study for students of building technology, geosciences and other related fields.

This blogger has discussed the recurring problem of collapsed  buildings in Lagos, Nigeria which could be due to uncontrolled withdrawal of ground water, poor geotechnical investigation before construction, poor building material and poor supervision by site engineers (

DEPO ADENLE, November 2016


By JOCELYN GECKER, Associated November 29, 2016


© The Associated Press The image provided by the European Space Agency ESA on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, shows the Millennium Tower in San Francisco on the base of modified Copernicus Sentinel satellite data. The European Space Agency has released satellite…



SAN FRANCISCO — Engineers in San Francisco have tunneled underground to try and understand the sinking of the 58-story Millennium Tower. Now comes an analysis from space.

The European Space Agency has released detailed data from satellite imagery that shows the skyscraper in San Francisco’s financial district is continuing to sink at a steady rate — and perhaps faster than previously known.

The luxury high-rise that opened its doors in 2009 has been dubbed the Leaning Tower of San Francisco. It has sunk about 16 inches into landfill and is tilting several inches to the northwest.

A dispute over the building’s construction in the seismically active city has spurred numerous lawsuits involving the developer, the city and owners of its multimillion dollar apartments.

Engineers have estimated the building is sinking at a rate of about 1-inch per year. The Sentinel-1 twin satellites show almost double that rate based on data collected from April 2015 to September 2016.

The satellite data shows the Millennium Tower sunk 40 to 45 millimeters — or 1.6 to 1.8 inches — over a recent one-year period and almost double that amount — 70 to 75 mm (2.6 to 2.9 inches) — over its 17-month observation period, said Petar Marinkovic, founder and chief scientist of PPO Labs which analyzed the satellite’s radar imagery for the ESA along with Norway-based research institute Norut.

“What can be concluded from our data, is that the Millennium Tower is sinking at a steady rate,” Marinkovic said in a telephone interview Monday from The Hague, Netherlands.

The data detected a small slowdown this summer but one that needs further analysis, he said, and does not change the overall data. “There is quite a steady subsidence.”

The Sentinel-1 study is not focused on the Millennium Tower but is part of a larger mission by the European Space Agency tracking urban ground movement around the world, and particularly subsidence “hotspots” in Europe, said Pierre Potin, Sentinel-1 mission manager for the ESA.

The ESA decided to conduct regular observations of the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Hayward Fault, since it is prone to tectonic movement and earthquakes, said Potin, who is based in Italy.

Data from the satellite, which is orbiting about 400 miles (700 kilometers) from the earth’s surface, was recorded every 24 days.

The building’s developer, Millennium Partners, insists the building is safe for occupancy and could withstand an earthquake.

The developer’s spokesman PJ Johnston said he had no direct comment on the satellite data but issued a statement saying that the Millennium Tower is a state-of-the-art building that was “designed and constructed to the extraordinarily high standards” mandated by San Francisco.

He reiterated the developers’ blame for the tower’s problems on the city’s construction of an adjacent railway station, which they say removed ground water from beneath the Millennium Tower that caused it to sink and tilt.

The city agency, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, blames the building’s “inadequate foundation” which is not anchored to bedrock. The tower is supported by piles driven 60 to 90 feet into landfill.

Engineers hired by the building and its developers have drilled deep holes around the building to test soil samples to determine if the building has stopped sinking, and if there’s a way to fix it.

One of the building’s tenants, Jerry Dodson, says that developers have given tenants the impression that the sinking was slowing and stopping.

“To have the space agency looking at it debunks what (developers) have put out there. Now we know it’s continuing to sink at an accelerated rate,” said Dodson, an attorney who has helped organize homeowners lawsuits. “I can tell you that satellite data is way more accurate that digging in the dirt.”



Nigeria National water master plan captures development up to 2030

The Deputy Manager of the Master Plan Project seems to be assuming two important data – Nigeria’s population growth rate and water demand. While his sweeping statement about these two, sounds pleasing to the ear, one may ask if the Ministry of Water Resources has any fairly reliable information about Nigeria’s population growth rate and water demand.

Our population figures have always been flawed. When the Chairman, National Population Commission, Chief Festus Odimegwu felt uncomfortable about the reliability of the census figures, he resigned his appointment in 2013. Oduimegu was quoted in the Punch Newspaper of October 2013 as saying “During the 2006 census, workers locked out the commissioners over the creation of new areas. When the NPC did its own census in 2006 and said Lagos State was 9 million, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was the governor then came out and declared that the population of Lagos was 17 million.

“Nigeria has run on falsehood for too long. We must stop this falsehood and put a stop to all of these. The Boko Haram problem is partly as a result of that. Because the 2006 census wasn’t correct, the former board of the NPC was unable to publish the figures.

“If they try it, there will be an uproar. We must make Nigeria work. We can’t do that unless we know the statistics. We can’t build infrastructure without demographic data. As long as the figures in Nigeria are wrong, corruption will continue to thrive. We must have an organised data before we can plan for Nigeria.”

With respect to having to consult the master plan for how much water is available, one will like to ask if the nation has any clear idea about how much groundwater is available in each hydrologic area. It is true that we have a fairly good idea about our surface water hydrology but a lot needs to be done about groundwater hydrology.

Finally, it is really a shame that we have to wait until JICA is ready to help us before we can build on what it did in 1995. Are we really an independent country?

Comments by DEPO ADENLE


National water master plan captures development up to 2030

Published on Wednesday, 08 January 2014

Written by NAN

The National Water Resources Mater Plan review now at its final stage, captures water development plan and population growth up to  the year 2030.

Mr Kenneth Sumonu, an Assistant Director in the Department of Allocation and Authorisation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Sumonu, the Deputy Manager of the master plan project, said that every area in the country was captured in the master plan of its development agenda.

He added that the master plan would serve as a guide to the country’s development from 2013 to 2030, considering the nation’s population growth and water demand. While this sweeping statement sounds pleasing to the ear, one may ask if the Ministry of Water Resources have any idea about Nigeria’s population growth rate and water demand.

He noted that the country’s water resources were not properly harnessed, thereby necessitating implementation of the master plan for adequate utilisation of these resources.

“The final stage is so important because now, we can say we have a national water master plan that every sector can key into for their development agenda.

“It is very important that the master plan is a guide to ensuring sustainable development within our present demand and it’s from 2013 to 2030.

“Any development that has to do with water, you have to consult the master plan for availability of water. With respect to having to consult the master plan for how much water is available, one will like to ask if the nation has any clear idea about how much groundwater is available in each hydrologic area. It is true that we have a fairly good idea about our surface water hydrology but a lot needs to be done about groundwater hydrology.

“We have abundant water supply resources; we have huge potential even up to 2030; but they are not properly harnessed because water is not evenly distributed.’’

He said the weather data, meteorological data, hydrological data and population growth were the major areas captured in the plan.

Sumonu said the final copy of the document would be presented to the Ministry of Water Resources for full implementation on Jan. 20, 2014.

According to him, the master plan also made reference to Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020, National Water Road Map, MDGs and the Africa Water Vision in developing the plan.

He explained that the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the organisation in charge of the review, developed the first master plan in 1995.

He said that the Federal Government subsequently requested the organisation to update the document for effective management of the country’s water resources.

The assistant director commended the organisation for the job, stating that the master plan was part of the support from the Japanese Government to Nigeria. (NAN)

No, Jigawa’s Governor Lamido;corruption in high places is what ails Nigeria, not the acceptable for-profit gimmicks in markets places!

Corruption is a national crisis -Gov Lamido

by Leon Usigbe and Jacob Segun Olatunji,

Nigerian Tribune, Friday, 15 June 2012

GOVERNOR Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has urged Nigerians to look beyond the allegations of bribery and corruption currently rocking the House of Representatives, saying that corruption is a national crisis that must be tackled holistically.

Fielding questions from newsmen after paying a courtesy call on the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Bamanga Tukur, in Abuja on Thursday, Governor Lamido called for the adoption of an established national standard of behaviour to re-orientate the people on corruption.

Explaining that the people in the National Assembly could not act differently since they were also Nigerians, he regretted that every stratum of the society had been permeated by the cankerworm, adding that unless there was a determination on the part of Nigerians to do away with corruption, the evil would continue to thrive in national life.

According to him, “the people in the National Assembly, government houses, armed forces,  police, markets, universities are all drawn from the Nigerian environment. So, when you are talking about corruption, why don’t you do some kind of reflection? Are we upright?

“It is a very serious problem. It is not an issue of Farouk or not. It is a Nigerian crisis. Are you upright? If you go to the market, people try to make money out of you. If it is oranges you want to buy, they put big ones on top and the little ones under the basket.



It is really a pity that Governor Lamido has gotten it all wrong in this very pedestrian take of corruption in Nigeria which I think can be attributable to the fact that Nigerians see most governors as being very corrupt.  

First, leadership by example is usually the norm. Leaders in any society cannot blame the citizenry for the corruption crisis in their midst. Will Governor Lamido blame whatever he does, with respect to punctuality, cleanliness, being truthful, etc. on his children? If he behaves like a gentleman, his kids will copy him and behave likewise.

Second, how can he compare traders’ gimmicks in market places to what our leaders are doing with  respect to bribery,  embezzlement,  etc. ?

When late Gen. Murtala Mohammed became Head of State, he led by example which completely changed the way Nigerians attended to people requiring services from government agencies.   Also during the time of Ret. Gen. Buhari and late Gen. Tunde Idiagbon, Nigerians became orderly on queues which were always formed – no matter how many people waited for services.  This became the practice after the Buhari-Idiagbon government’s massive publicity for War Against Indiscipline (WAI) urged people to consider orderliness and other social practices as ways of living.

However, when Ret. Gen. Babangida became Head of State, “settle”, a verb, crept into the Nigerian lexicon as a euphemistic noun for “corruption”.  It remains to this day Babangida’s legacy.

Leaders are in the drivers’ seat of state which they can steer in any direction they want. The tail surely cannot wag the dog.

Corruption permeates all sectors of the Nigerian economy, including the water sector. While it is believed that billions of Naira has been spent on water supply projects in Nigeria since Independence, there are figures as low as only about a third of this huge expenditure reportedly finding its way into actually providing potable water for the people. This has not only resulted in very poor access to potable water In Nigeria but has also retarded the progress of the move towards attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Finally, this blogger has written on the issue of corruption in the water sector in Nigeria as could be seen in the following links:…t-in-nigeria-2…eria-continued/…ents-continued/



Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my new blog on water and water-related issues around the world with special emphasis on Africa.  Although this site will not get fully going till August/Sepember, I am using this to serve notice of a new place for those interested in water-related issues to meet and share ideas.

Meanwhile, read ‘ABOUT’ for a very brief bio on me.

DEPO ADENLE, June 11, 2011.