News

April 18, 2022

Nigeria: FG to partners FEMinWASH, River Basin, others, to protect groundwater

FEMinWASH

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…Says 60% of Nigerians depend on groundwater for survival

By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja.

The Federal Government, FG, has declared its interest to collaborate with Non-profit Organisations, FEMinWASH, State Water Agencies, River Basins, and other stakeholders and development partners to consolidate efforts in mitigating the pressures from exploitation, contamination and climate change on groundwater

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, made this call during the commemoration of the 2022 world water Day, WWD, and International Women’s Day, IWD, organised by FEM in partnership with the Ministry of Water Resources, and the launching of generatio-T; transforming generations by female and youth skilling and engagement in WASH sector, in Abuja.

Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Didi Walson-jack, while stating that groundwater has a huge impact on the Nigerian economy due to its widely domestication, and use for agricultural, and industrial supplies, said that 60% of the Nigerian population depend primarily on groundwater as major drinking source, while over 70% of the people living in the surbubs majorly depend on it for survival.

Stating that groundwater is not an infinite resource, Adamu maintained that all stakeholders’ hands must be on deck to drive the protection of groundwater as it is central to human survival, with massive ecological values.

He said: “more needs to be done. All hands must be on deck to recognize its enormous ecological value for the many surface water bodies and wetlands that depend on it. We need to acknowledge and mitigate pressures from exploitation, contamination and climate change on groundwater.

“Against this backdrop, there is a need for the Ministry to collaborate with Non-Governmental Organizations such as FEMinWASH and other stakeholders including the State Water Agencies, River Basins, Development partners to maximize the potential of groundwater use in a sustainable and equitable way in order to make this resource visible.

“The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is thus honored to collaborate with the Network of FEMinWASH and NWRI, The Water Institute of South Africa and other stakeholders in their capacity building efforts aimed at disadvantaged youths particularly females as well as accredited professional development of the Sector.

“The Ministry on its own part will explore opportunities for partnership in line with some of our existing Graduate/Youth Empowerment Programmes, private sector driven operation and maintenance of Community water supply infrastructure to complement the programmes being launched today. I congratulate the various stakeholders FEMinWASH, WASHMATA Initiatives, Association of Professional Women Engineers, Nigerian Institute of Environmental Engineers, Nigerian Institute of Water Engineers and the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission for organizing this programme.”

MEANWHILE, the pioneer patron of FEMinWASH, Engr. Ebele Okeke on her part stressed that groundwater which accounts for 99 per cent of all liquid fresh water on earth has enormous potential to alleviate some of the socio-economic priorities of the Federal Government regarding water, food security, poverty alleviation, job creation, and youth employment.

She said: “The theme for this event is groundwater, making the invisible visible. Breaking the bias is particularly relevant for Nigeria and feminine wash for various reasons. One groundwater which accounts for 99% of all liquid fresh water on earth has enormous potential to alleviate some of the socio-economic priorities of the federal government of Nigeria as regards water, food security, poverty alleviation, job creation, and youth employment.

“Secondly, according to the United Nations Water Water Development reports of this year, groundwater already provides half of the volume of water withdrawn for domestic use by the global population and about 25% of water withdrawn for irrigation.”

She stressed further that some of the challenges faced by the sector is not the availability of groundwater, but related to the sustainable management of groundwater, particularly putting up policies geared towards ensuring that groundwater is adequately valued and protected.

She, however, bemoaned the underrepresentation of women in WASH programs, advocating for a reasonable percentage of women representation in decision making both at the community level and at the strategic level.

“The United Nations World Water Development report of this year, groundwater already provides half of the volume of water withdrawn for domestic use by the global population and about 25% of fall water withdrawn for irrigation.

“The WASH num survey 2019 highlights the relevance of groundwater, noting that 64% of domestic water supply in Nigeria is self-supplied and this is mainly through the use of groundwater from boreholes most homes who can afford it have boreholes even in this Abuja.

“The challenge we face as a sector is not the availability of groundwater but the challenges related to the sustainable management of groundwater in terms of putting in place systems to ensure groundwater is adequately valued, protected, regulated and maintained.

“Also, the sustainable management of groundwater will require collaboration and partnerships between government and non-state actors at all levels, at the community level policymaking and implementation level. Women therefore should be fully involved. Normally, all these things are done without regards to women. The men try to take every position but women are the water bringer and they should be fully involved.

“Although women are usually the primary carriers at home, and spend a cooperative life proportion of time assessing water supply, hygiene and sanitation for their family, they are often underrepresented in WASH programming, and their voices are never heard or taken into consideration in decision making both at the community level and at the strategic level.

“Lastly, studies have shown that the inclusion of women in participation and decision making benefits the economy of countries as well as finances and institutions. Consequently, may I ask you to join hands with a network of female professionals in WASH to break the bias towards women in order to facilitate sustainable management of groundwater for the purpose of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society.

“So, to this end, FEMinwash is cooperating today in collaboration with his stakeholders to launch two programmes. The first is the generation-T or the generational transformers programme in partnership with the National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna. The second programme is the accredited professional capacity building programme in partnership with the Water Institute of South Africa. The technical presentation and award sessions seeks to optimise the critical role women play in the complementary or sustainable management of groundwater and other water sources.”

The Convener of Network of Female Professionals in WASH in Nigeria and Diaspora Dr Boluwaji Onabolu pointed out that the launch of the Generation Transformer is a 100percent fully sponsored training for youths and women in plumbing.

The training to be carried out by the National Water Research Institute, NWRI, will further improve the sustainability of water infrastructure such that the plumbers would be able to repair the constructed boreholes donated to communities.

She said we are training the about 10 youths and women such that they would improve water provision and management in the country

Vanguard News Nigeria