By Godwi Oritse
Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria, CSDevNet, has raised alarm over the acute shortage of portable water in Nigeria and called on the government to declare an emergency to tackle the crisis.
Speaking at the World Water Day, Chairman, Board of Trustees CSDevNet Dr. Ibrahim Choji said Nigeria presently reels under serious water challenges. Water-based challenges such as widespread shortage, pollution, degradation, flooding and poor water management in cities and rural centers are totemic icons that dot the Nigerian landscape today.
According to Choji, the theme of this year’s celebration ‘Leaving no one behind’, adapts the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.
He explained water is vital for survival of mankind, alongside sanitation, which helps to protect public and environmental health.
“Our bodies, our cities and our industries, our agriculture and our ecosystems all depend on it.
“Water is a human right. Nobody should be denied access. This World Water Day is about upholding this right for all, leaving no one behind” he stated.
Explaining further, Choji explained that the current state of affairs is further compounded as the world gets warmer with the rains growing heavier and oceans rising, making rural inhabitants to migrate to cities in their millions. Nigerian cities are under dual pressure from uncontrolled urbanisation and flooding worsened by climate-induced water stress.
He said “Today, more than 100 million Nigerians live without safe water due to factors such as economic status, gender, ethnicity, religion and age. Many still live without access to safe water in their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories. Marginalized groups – women, children, internally displaced persons (IDPs), pastoralists, disabled people and many others – are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need.
“Growing demands, coupled with poor management, have increased water stress in many parts of the country. Climate change is adding dramatically to the pressure. By 2030, an estimated 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity.
“From Lagos in the west to Onitsha in the east, from Kano in the north to Port Harcourt in the south, slum-dwellers, the middle class, and the elite alike are engaged in the water race.
“More than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa with Nigeria contributing a substantial portion. Of the additional 2.4 billion people projected to be added to the global population between 2015 and 2050, 1.3 billion will be added in Africa and the difficulties Nigerian cities currently face in providing sustainable water services will be exacerbated.
“It is estimated that Nigeria loses 5% of annual GDP due to poor access to clean drinking water and sanitation; 5-25% to droughts and floods in affected states; and 2% to regular power outages. In addition to the cost of insufficient water security, the cost of climate change in Nigeria is estimated to be 1.5-3% of GDP by 2030, expected to reach 10% by 2100 under a business-as-usual scenario.
“The above grim-reality is more than enough recipe for the declaration of a national emergency on water in Nigeria.
“Nigeria requires an emergency declaration that will prioritise an urgent need to adopt innovative mechanisms to manage demand and improve efficiency in the production, supply and utilisation of water in all sectors our national life.
“Nigeria must ensure that appropriate national spending targets for quality investments in water and sanitation are consistent with national sustainable development strategies; and further prioritising the development of institutional and human resources capacity. “Beyond declaring an emergency, CSDevNet believes that the water crisis in Nigeria constitutes an invitation for newer and innovative ways of ensuring water security for all Nigerians. “The equitable and sustainable management of all the country’s water resources remains a credible key to achieving a prosperous Nigeria as there is no doubt that we are blessed with a blue economy.