The Federal Government plans to promote Public Private Partnership as an effective approach to increasing investment in the water resources sector, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has said.
The minister spoke at the investiture of the 10th President of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Prof Fola Lasisi, in Lagos, where he was represented by the Director-General, National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna, Prof Emmanuel Adanu.
The minister noted that the International Water Management Institute had predicted that Nigeria might become water-stressed between the 2025 and 2050, and that water availability would severely constrain socio-economic development and environmental protection, as it would reduce to less than 1,000 cubic metre per capita, if the current population growth persisted.
Adamu said Nigeria was not able to meet the Millennium Development Goals’ target on access to water supply, particularly with the decline in access in the rural areas.
According to the minister, it has become necessary that concerted efforts must be put in place to improve the trend towards achieving 100 per cent access to water supply by 2030, a time when the population is estimated to grow to 257 million, in accordance with the newly adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
He said, “Nigeria is blessed with abundant water resources. However, the sustainability is threatened by land degradation, deforestation, rapid population growth, poor sectoral investment, as well as climate change. All of these have placed pressure on the water resources systems of our country.
“It is therefore compelling that we manage our water resources scientifically and professionally in tandem with international best practices. This, therefore explains the intervention we are currently undertaking in the sector. Nigeria is indeed not a water-poor country but due to inequitable distribution, poor sectoral investments and other challenges, can be regarded as potentially water-stressed.”
He stated that a recent study had established that pipe borne water supply, especially in the urban areas, was on the decline from 30 per cent national coverage in 1990 to about seven per cent in 2015, when he came into office.
“This unpleasant revelation made it necessary that we embark on a new aggressive effort to address the situation. In order to be successful, all tiers of government must partner to ensure radical changes and improvement in the sector,” the minister said.
The immediate past President, NAE, Mrs Joanna Maduka, said the theme of the programme, ‘Current developments in Nigeria’s water resources sector’, was in furtherance of the academy’s commitment to positively impact the economy as well as the social life of Nigerians.
She added, “Our responsibility as the NAE is to ensure the advancement of engineering education and practice throughout the engineering family.
“This is achievable through continuous learning, advocacy and strategic collaboration with relevant professional associations and industries. The goal remains the significant improvement of the lives of our people and the state of our society.”
Maduka said the academy, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, produced the maiden edition of its journal, ‘Innovative solutions in engineering’, which was unveiled at the programme.
The academy also gave lifetime achievement awards to eight members among them the 10th president, Lasisi, and inducted new Fellows.
Lasisi said for the next two years, the focus of the activities of the academy would be on developing technology in the country, and this would commence with a retreat by the new council members.
He stated that the immediate past president of the academy had put up a programme for the development of a technology village, which would commence during his tenure.
According to him, the academy will also encourage more cooperation with international and national academies to focus on the three technological challenges of the country, namely: energy, infrastructure and food security.
“The strategic plan that is under development will be used to determine short-term, medium-term and long-term programmes of the academy,” Lasisi added.