The Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC) has said that it was committed to promoting the availability of sufficient water in a quantitative and qualitative ways through the engagement of professional and efficient management of all surface and underground water sources for the use of all through the water source protection policy.
It also stated that the policy will cover domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric power, navigation, fisheries, and recreation, as well as ecosystem maintenance.
Executive director of the commission, Engr. Umar Bashir Magashi, made this known during a two-day national validation workshop on the draft policy by experts and other stakeholders with the theme, “Finalization of the National Water Source Protection Policy Document,” which was kick-started started on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, the draft policy got its first approval by the National Council on Water Resources in the year 2017, afterwhich the National Technical Committee was inaugurated in the subsequent year to produce the draft policy.
Magashi further stated that, “the Draft National Water Source Protection Policy is an update of the existing policies, taking into consideration, latest developments in the sector, nationally and internationally. For example, the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Water Governance are now bedrock of the Policy, which when finalised, would need to be enforced and implemented if the water sources are to be well protected for the good of all.”
He noted that rhe workshop was borne out of the challenges faced by the sector in the areas of polluted water sources, deteriorated asset, weak institutions including federal, states and local government, as well as international organisation and sectorial approaches.
Magashi, therefore, said the workshop was intended to achieve some objectives like, “to familiarise key stakeholders and institutions to the draft policy and its contents. Secondly, to finalize the policy and finally to accept and collectively pursue its implementation and enforcement.”
He, however, expressed that the success will not only be on the validation of the workshop but also for the finalizing, speedy implementation and enforcement of the policy which will go a long way to the realisation of the commission’s dream and the public.
On his part, the minister of water resources, Engr. Sulieman Adamu, who declared the workshop open, said that Nigeria appears to have abundant water resources, but its sustainability is threatened by land degradation, deforestation, rapid population growth and other socio–economic development as well as climate change, which has placed tremendous pressure on our water resources.
The Minister also highlighted the challenges to the protection of water sources and management including fragmented sectorial development which has led to near neglect of protecting the water sources; poor database and information management; and institutions with conflicting mandate which makes them referees and players in the water sector.
He said all these resulted to problems of accountability and transparency.
According to him, “there is need to assist stakeholders in the sector and the general populace to fully appreciate the very useful provision of this policy framework. It is note-worthy that this policy framework provides for the creation of an enabling environment for Public and Private Sector Investments.
“It also provides for capacity building process to foster good governance, whilst establishing a water use and license framework to ensure sustainable financing for water sector development through tariffs, including creation of an enabling climate for increased private sector participation in service delivery through Public Private Partnership Management Contract.
“As we all know, protecting of water sources is critical to the sustenance of life and this means the adequate management of our water sources in an integrated manner is an important element to human livelihood as well as being key to prosperity.”