Federal government has said the integrity of Nigeria’s water infrastructure is at risk, stressing that an intensive effort needs to be undertaken to increase the resilience and sustainability of critical assets within the sector.
This is even as the government decried a huge funding gap in the sector.
It said the 2013 master plan estimated that the nation needs over N6 trillion worth of investments to meet the infrastructural needs of the sector.
The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack who disclosed this during her opening remarks at the 28th meeting of the National Technical Committee on Water Resources said the master plan is currently under review, adding that the figure is expected to increase.
Speaking on the theme of the technical meeting: ”Emerging Financial and Management Challenges for Sustainable Water Infrastructure in Nigeria,” Walson-Jack noted that the challenge can be met only if the nation fundamentally changes the way it views and manages its water infrastructure.
According to her, “We must focus on effective utility management, full-cost pricing of services, efficient use of water, and protection of water resources.
“We must learn to avoid, reduce, mitigate, and ultimately recover from the effects of natural, accidental, or malevolent incidents with minimal impact on end-users.
“I sincerely hope that this gathering will critically examine these issues and develop implementable policies that will bring about renovations in technological options and structural changes for sustainability. Most importantly, the funding and management challenges in the sector would be addressed.”
She noted that the meeting comes against the backdrop of dwindling government resources and the need to sustain infrastructure in the sector for effective service delivery thereby meeting national targets as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 6).
On his part, a credit risk and financial analyst, Kelvin Umeh decried comparatively low priority to water sector issues in the nation.
He also identified shared water resources management responsibility between the federal, state, and local governments as one of the root causes of poor water infrastructure.
Umeh also decried weak financial institutional framework in the sector.