…says Water Bill remains basic resource to galvanize sector
…as 29th National Council on Water Resources meeting kicks off in Sokoto
By Gabriel Ewepu, ABUJA
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, Thursday, disclosed that Nigerians’ access to water, sanitation and hygiene has tremendously improved in the last seven and half years under the Buhari-led administration.
Adamu made the disclosure in a keynote address at the 29th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Water Resources, NCWR, with theme ‘Actualizing Sustainable Development Goal-6: Prospects and Challenges’ in Sokoto, Sokoto State, which had in attendance the Commissioners of State Ministries of Water Resources, their Permanent Secretaries, Traditional Rulers led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Dr. Sa’ad Abubakar III, Directors of Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Managing Director of River Basin Development Authorities and other Staff, Development Partners and key Stakeholders in the Water Resources Sector.
According to him, the Federal Government’s laudable flagship projects and programmes implemented through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources has undeniably resulted in improved access to water for the variety of applications and improvements in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene Sector.
He pointing at the theme he noted that the meeting of the National Council on Water Resources will afford members the opportunity to evaluate progress made in the water sector and take remedial measures that will help to meet the SDG-6 target year and to achieve this, he called for a review of strategic plans towards ensuring available and sustainable management of Water and Sanitation for all.
He emphasized that access to safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene remains central, cardinal and a basic human need for good health and well-being which is in line with achieving Sustainable Development Goal-6 by target year 2030.
He said: “Access to safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene is a basic human need for good health and well-being. Achieving the target is no doubt daunting in view of the exponential rise in water demand due to rapid population growth, urbanization and increasing water demand for domestic purposes, agriculture, industry, energy etc.
“Consequently, I invite you to urgently agree on appropriate strategies to ensure the most efficient and cost effective management of the scarce water resources in order to achieve the eight priority areas under the SDG 6.
“According to the National Water Resources Master Plan 2013, Nigeria has about 333 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM) of Surface Water and about 156 BCM of Groundwater, which can be harnessed to adequately meet Nigeria’s current water demand for domestic consumption and other development activities.
The Ministry is therefore promoting Integrated Water Resources Management principles for sustainable management of the available water resource for the present and future needs of our people.”
He also noted that Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) and the World Bank assisted Sustainable Urban Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) are contributing to the improvement in public health and eradication of poverty in Nigeria with a view to achieving SDG Targets 6.1 and 6.2 in the rural areas, and improvement in Urban, Small Towns and Rural Water Supply as well as strengthening Sector Institutions in the participating States.
He added that over the years the ministry has constructed 260 Dams across the country and impounded 34B CM of bulk water in Dam Reservoirs for multi-purpose use, including Water Supply, Sanitation, Irrigation, Hydropower generation and others.
However, the Minister charged members of the Council on sustainability of gains made in the sector in the seven and half years he has been on the saddle of the sector.
He said effective collaboration amongst Stakeholders in the Water Sector, particularly between the three tiers of Government remains paramount in order to holistically harness the rich potentials of the country’s water resources sector and to maximize benefits of the huge capital investments made in the completed dams, water supply and irrigation infrastructure nationwide.
Meanwhile, speaking on ending Open Defecation in Nigeria by target year of 2025, he (Adamu) explained that the Ministry has since 2019 embarked on a nationwide campaign through the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign’, which as at December 2022, one State, Jigawa State, and 100 Local Government Areas have been certified Open Defecation Free, ODF, status.
“Similarly, the Ministry has made a concerted effort at generally improving Sanitation in the country. To this end, it has embarked on a number of activities.
“Construction of over 7,200 compartments of Sanitation and Hygiene facilities in public places nationwide i.e. markets, schools, parks, health facilities, IDP host communities, and cholera hot spots and handed over to beneficiary communities, with approved guidelines for caretakers, to manage”, he said.
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