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    VALUING WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND EXPLOITATION IN NIGERIA: – LINKAGES BETWEEN WATER AND DEVELOPMENT?

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    PRESS RELEASE
    TO MARK THE
    THEME: VALUING WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND EXPLOITATION
    IN NIGERIA: – LINKAGES BETWEEN WATER AND DEVELOPMENT?

    Being a press release from the National Chairman of the
    Nigerian Institution of Water Engineers (NIWE),
    Engr. Chinyere Nnenna Igwegbe, FNSE, FNIWE
    in celebration of the Y2021 World Water Day.
    Though every March 22nd is reserved for the global celebration of World Water Day, this year’s
    celebration is unique, given its theme “Valuing Water” and the first to be superintended by the first
    female National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Water Engineers. (NIWE). Since my
    coming onboard, We have tried to engage many leading stakeholders, on how best to manage
    Nigeria’s water resources for sustainability and continued National Development. In celebrating
    the 2021 World Water Day, the NIWE organized National Ideation Hub for talent hunt, held in
    Abuja, and the winning school will be presented with a trophy by the Hon. Minster of Water
    Resources. This is targeted at catching the students young and inculcating into them the love for
    water and the need for valuing water and caring for it. The Institution led by the National Chairman
    also held a television interview with the Kaftan TV in Abuja, where issues pertaining to valuing
    water and its management in Nigeria were specially discussed. Several awareness programmes
    and technical sessions were equally organized in many states of the country, as the need to
    sustainably manage our finite water resources cannot be overemphasized.
    Water as a key to social-economic development, and environmental integrity, must be treated both
    as a resource and a sector. Water as a sector needs infrastructure development and operational
    funds. As a resource, it cuts across many sectors and needs integrated approaches to management.
    Financing, monitoring and infrastructure are well known as high priority management issues
    facing the governments of the day. While water development is crucial to economic and social
    development, these developments in turn increase the use of water with attendant environmental
    consequences. There are therefore interlinkages of natural resource pressures in water, energy and
    food, and advanced efforts to move beyond conventional sector thinking. Agreed that water is
    critical for agriculture, ecosystem services and energy; water and the services it provides have
    Nigerian Institution of Water Engineers
    become threatened by climate change, population growth, degrading water quality and extreme
    hydrological events. Climate change is altering temperature and therefore precipitation patterns
    around the world, with drier regions tending to become even drier. A lot of studies have established
    that there is a connection between hydrologic extremes and economic losses. This
    notwithstanding, developing are still at the infantry stages of executing programmes to address
    water-related disasters and climate change impacts.
    It is pertinent to note that the sustainable management of water resources is indeed, crucial to the
    development of a society, given the key roles water plays in many aspects of human endeavour,
    such as for domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural and recreational purposes. Developed
    nations have a long history of heavy investment in water institutions and infrastructure. They have
    also, invested heavily, overtime, on their capacity to manage water resources satisfactorily. On the
    contrary, less developed countries are characterised by weak institutions, inadequate water
    infrastructure, and poor water governance. Due to the increasing demand on water resources,
    which are finite, it is imperative to examine how these water resources can be well managed for
    continued national development. The total renewable water resources (TRWR) per capita in
    Nigeria has been estimated to be 2514 m3/year. This notwithstanding, only about 69 per cent of
    Nigerians have access to basic water supply service, whereas in countries like Tunisia with far less
    TRWR per capita, nearly all the citizens have access to potable water supply.
    The poor access to water supply and the continued depletion of the available water resources, show
    that there are critical issues with the manner water resources are managed in Nigeria. In the current
    time, the Federal Ministry of Water resources superintends over all water resources development
    and management, via other smaller departments and agencies. However, sectoral interests and
    ineffective coordination among stakeholders, hinder effective water resources management,
    leading to over-abstraction, wastage of water resources, and environmental pollution.
    Furthermore, although Nigeria has vast freshwater resources estimated at 286.2 km3/year, these
    resources, geographically, are not evenly distributed and are affected by seasonal variation. More
    still, a huge increase in population and urbanisation are putting severe pressure on the available
    water resources, resulting in competition across multiple sectors for water resources and access to
    water being restricted even in areas where water is abundant in the country.
    The purpose of this press conference is therefore to
    emphasize the need for a paradigm shift in water
    management from the traditional, sectoral approach to
    integrated water resources management (IWRM) with the
    hope that it will translate to sustainable use of water
    resources, if implemented to the latter.
    I therefore implore us all to value water and care for it, so
    that it can in turn, sustain us and subsequent generations.
    Engr. Chinyere Nnenna Igwgebe FNSE FNIWE
    National Chairman,
    Nigerian Institution of Water Engineers (NIWE)

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