The Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr.Suleiman H. Adamu, FNSE, FAEng, has charged the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), to make concerted efforts towards the Sustainable Management and Development of the nation’s Ground Water Resources.
Engr.Adamu, speaking at the just concluded National Stakeholders Workshop for the Formulation of A National Groundwater Assessment Strategic Plan for Nigeria, held between Tuesday 19th – Wednesday 20th July, 2022 stated that “Diseases related to drinking contaminated water represent a major burden on human health and the interventions to improve the quality of drinking water provides significant benefits to health.
He further stated that Ground Water is a critical stakeholder in the Global Climate Change adaptation and the theme of this year’s World Water Day “Making the Invisible Visible” has made it mandatory to establish a robust Ground Water Resources Management Plan.
The Minister, noted that the current state of 73 Ground Water Monitoring Stations established by NIHSA, falls short of the initial minimum requirements of 200 planned to have been achieved by the year 2020, stressing that “Nigeria as a Global Player in the Sub – Saharan region cannot be left behind in policy making concerning Ground Water Management.
Reiterating the Agency’s mandate, as regards the provision of services required for the assessment of the nation’s Surface and Groundwater Resources in terms of quality, quantity, distribution and availability, in his words, “It is my fervent hope and wish that after this Stakeholders Workshop, we can finally come up with a reliable estimation of the nation’s Ground Water potentials, and also at regular intervals of time, have a forecast Predicting accurate state of our ground water, its quantity and quality as we currently do with the Annual Flood Outlook.
The Director General, (NIHSA), Engr Clement Nze, FNSE, FNIWE, speaking at the programme, said the aim of the workshop, is to deliberate and formulate A National Ground Water Assessment Strategic Plan, look at the nation’s Ground Water monitoring network programme with a view to its development, management and identifying the problems and possible solutions or feasible actualization strategies.
Engr. Nze, called on the need to give necessary attention to the development and management of Ground Water Resources with special regards for the passage of the re – Introduced National Water Resources Bill by the National Assembly to help the development and efficient management of the sector.
He further remarked that the 2012 International Ground Water Resources Assessment Centre (UNESCO global Ground Water centre) working under the auspices of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) launched the Global Ground Water Monitoring Network, and Nigeria as the giant of Africa and a global player must not be left behind in policy making concerning Ground Water Management, adding that Ground Water Resources plays a vital role in the support and sustainability of human and ecological services.
The Director General, as a matter of urgency called for A Strategic plan to enable the Agency start forecasting droughts, predicting groundwater fluctuations and groundwater quality variations basins and also a National Monitoring Network that will bridge local, state and regional efforts to form a nationwide scale observation system.
Director Hydrogeology, and Workshop Convener, Mr James Bisong, while presenting the general overview of NIHSA’s Ground Water Monitoring Programme, stated that NIHSA has a nascent Implementation strategy from its inception. The plan he said, is to have a network of about 500 monitoring wells in the sedimentary basins of the country and about 200 in highly populated locations within the basement terrain.
According to him, NIHSA has fallen far short of this plan. A critical evaluation, rigorous interrogation and far reaching consultations to develop a worthwhile achievable strategy that will address the identified difficulties, is much needed, he added.
Other highpoints at the Workshop was the presentation of papers, by resource persons and experts in the field, as well as panel discussions, questions and answers session that will yield a workable technical framework for the management and development of the nation’s Groundwater Resources.
Amongst the papers presented is Ground Water Systems, Monitoring, Development, and Water Resources Management of Nigerian Ground Water Provinces and their relationship with the Hydrological and River Basin Areas, presented by Dr. M. E. Offodile (MECON GEOLOGY), while Dr. Martin Eduvie (NWRI), presented, Development and Management of the Ground Water Provinces of Nigeria. Atlas of Nigeria 1974 Sokoto and Chad Basin Case Studies.
Others are; Conjunctive Use, Sharing, Inter Basin and Catchment Transfers of Ground Water and Surface Water in Management of the Water Resources of the River Basins and the Hydrological Areas of Nigeria, presented by Dr. Muslim Idris (MD;GAP Water Resources Consulting), and The Study and Development of Groundwater Resources of the Chad Basin, as a case study for Nigeria’s Ground Water Provinces, was presented by Prof I. B. Goni (UNIMAID) and Mr Kanaganathan. (Action Against Hunger)
Director Hydrogeology and Workshop Convener Mr James Bisong gave the vote of thanks while the Director General of NIHSA, Engr. Clement Nze, gave the closing remarks.