As the Lake Chad in the Northeast and Goronyo Dam in Northwest geopolitical zones of the federation decrease by the day, there are dangers of impending famine, unless urgent steps are taken to save the situation, LEADERSHIP Weekend checks have revealed.
It was gathered that both the Lake Chad and the Goronyo Dam might have devastating impact on Nigeria because of the way the waters were drying up in recent times.
Indigenes have warned that if no urgent step is taken, the sudden depletion of Goronyo dam would not only affect onion, garlic, tomatoes, water melon and sugar cane production in Sokoto state, but will also heighten chances of hunger in both Sokoto and Kebbi states.
On the Lake Chad, it was gathered that states like Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba and Bauchi might be affected negatively by the time the water dries up.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Weekend on what would be their fate this year, some of the indigenes said they were devastated beyond words.
One of them, Alhaji Umaru Katsira, said he was still wondering how to feed his family of 23 this year, as all hope of a bomber harvest from the dry season farming had been truncated by the sudden decrease of the Goronyo dam.
He said, “For most of us within this Goronyo dam, it has been a source of blessing since it was constructed because we effectively use water from the dam in our irrigation farming, thereby keeping us agriculturally productive all through the year.
“And like human endeavours differ, others engage in all year round fishing as source of survival, courtesy of the Goronyo dam.”
According to him, if nothing is done urgently by both the federal and state governments on the dwindling Goronyo dam, hunger will hit both Sokoto and Kebbi states this year.
When our correspondent visited some of the villages in Kebbi State that make use of the water from the Goronyo dam for their irrigation farming, the natives admitted that there is an impending hunger.
Sokoto and Kebbi states are among the largest producers of onions, garlic, watermelon and tomatoes.
Aside the imminent hunger, the Goronyo dam depletion is equally posing a great threat of water scarcity to over four million people within Sokoto and Kebbi.
Confirming this, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said the two states must work together to tackle the problem of water shortage at the dam.
Expressing worries over the development, Tambuwal who led a team of stakeholders on an on-the-spot assessment of the dam said the dam, which served as primary source of water for domestic and irrigation purposes for over four million people in Sokoto and Kebbi States, had shrunk by almost 90 per cent.
Said Tambuwal, “The depletion of the dam’s water level is alarming as the reservoir of Goronyo dam was constructed to hold one billion cubic meter of water. But as we have seen today, the water in it is just about 100 million cubic meters.
“This has resulted in inadequate supply of water to our Water Board and in effect, we had to resort to rationing water to the people. Our farmers are also suffering because output from this year’s dry season farming will invariably be affected”
Appealing that action be expedited in resuscitating the Goronyo dam, Tambuwal said, “We are urging all stakeholders, especially the federal government, to take the lead in rescuing this important dam considering the number of people that rely on its water for domestic use and income purposes”.
On his part, managing director of Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority, Buhari Bature, said the depletion was the worst witnessed in the dam in over 25 years.
Bature who conducted the governor round the dam site attributed the problem to shortage of rainfall in 2017, climate change, among other factors.
Bature lamented that shortage of water in Goronyo dam had affected water supply to water board and irrigation farms in Sokoto and Kebbi States.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, while warning about the dwindling nature of Lake Chad, described it as an ecological catastrophe.
Human population expansion and unsustainable human water extraction from Lake Chad have caused several natural species to be stressed and threatened by declining lake levels.
The shrinking of the lake has also caused several different conflicts to emerge as to which countries that border Lake Chad have the rights to the remaining water.
Along with the conflicts that involve the countries, violence is increasing among the lake dwellers. Farmers and herders want the water for their crops and livestock and are constantly diverting the water.
The fishermen, however, want the remaining water in the lake to stay so they can continue to fish and not have to worry about the lake shrinking more and decreasing their already strained supply of fish.
This is creating a problem for the ecosystem and the population in the environment. The birds and animals in the Lake Chad area are threatened, as they are important sources of food for the local human population.