Minister urges practical solutions to water challenges in Nigeria

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

FCT Minister Muhammad Musa Bello (left) and Water Resources counterpart, Suleiman Adamu

Federal government has instructed the National Council on Water Resources (NCWR) to come up with practical solutions to the numerous problems facing the water resources sector in the country.

Minister of the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration, Muhammad Musa Bello gave the directive at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Regular Meeting of the National Council on Water Resources held in Abuja.

The Minister noted that Nigeria was blessed with abundant surface and ground water resources, but that the resultant effect of rapid population growth, urbanization, increased economic activities, population migration and climate change posed critical water challenges in the next decade.

Bello urged the Council to review and update the National Water and Sanitation Policy, with a view to reducing wastage, improve service delivery and utilization efficiency and more importantly, have a policy that would monitor and conserve water resources.

It is imperative that we review and update national water sanitation policy with a view to reducing wastage, improve service delivery and utilization efficiency and more importantly, have a coordinating policy to monitor and conserve water resources”, he stressed

He also recalled that the FCT Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the course of its work provided hundreds of communities and schools with potable water, with boreholes being maintained by the FCT Water Board.

The Minister added that there had been an improvement in water supply within the
Territory with the commissioning of the Inter-Basin Water Transfer Project from Gurara Dam in Kaduna State, North Central Nigeria to the Lower Usuma Dam in Abuja, through a three-meter diameter pipe covering about 75 kilometers.

Two additional water treatment plants of 10,000 cubic meters per hour production capacity each, have also been constructed to improve water supply in the territory.

Commenting on FCT administration partners, he noted that, “FCTA in collaboration with the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) brought on stream the CleanEnergy Power Project to augment the electric power supply to the water works at Lower Usuma Dam to generate 1.459 mega-watt of solar-poweredmelectricity”.

The Administration in partnership with JICA also embarked on capacity building, customer enumeration, data base improvements and installation of bulk meters at critical points of the network to eliminate wastages and enhance revenue generating capacity of the FCT Water Board”, he added.

On his part, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu reiterated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari places a high premium on provision of clean water to all Nigerians.

The representative of the European Union to Nigeria, Jens Hogel said that the EU was directly implementing water supply and sanitation sector reform programme Phases II and III, as well as the Niger Delta Support Programme with about N40 billion in 14 states.

Hogel said with a population of over 170 million and abundant natural resources, Nigeria has the potential to be the economic and political powerhouse of Africa.