FG, UNESCO, stakeholders move to enhance water quality through ecohydrology

The federal government, through the Ministry of Water Resources and Regional Center for Integrated River Basin Management (RC-IRBM)/ National Water Resources Institute (NWRI), Kaduna, has partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and relevant stakeholders in enhancing water quality in West Africa, through the application of ecohydrological tools.

They made the commitment Monday in Abuja during a three-day regional workshop on strengthening the ecohydrological approach as a tool for enhancing water quality in West Africa, which had in attendance the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, Director General National Water Resources Institute (NWRI), Kaduna, Prof. Emmanuel Adanu, who doubles as the Chairman, Governing Board of RC-IRBM, Director UNESCO Multisectoral regional office, Abuja, Dr Sanga Dimitri (represented by Regional Culture Advisor, UNESCO, Abuja, Mrs Adele Nibona), among others.

Addressing participants at the workshop, DG of NWRI, Prof. Emmanuel Adanu, said that water quality remains a concern in Nigeria, but that the Institute and relevant authorities are collaborating to enhance combat the situation in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa through the use of ecohydrological tools.

He said: “The environment is an important indicator of good health, so we have to keep it clean. Our houses should be well ventilated. A lot of people cramped together should be separated and then make quality water available. If you see a stagnant or waste water available anywhere, you will find certain plants there, which cannot be found elsewhere. These impurities or stagnant water serve as nutrients to the plants.  When they reside there for a while, they will change colour, probably from green to yellow. The plants will then remove viruses and other organisms from the water when tested.

“So, what we are trying to do is to get these plants and plant them in environments to remove the viruses  from the system so that we can use the water. It is a nature-based treatment, because nature has a way of purifying itself and removing pollutants. We have a lot of these plants and carrying out researches on them in our institute in Kaduna.

“Also, Lake Chad has to be refilled. We don’t have the capacity to refill it from the institute, but we are studying what actually happened. Lake Chad is sick. There are many reasons put in the public domain as reasons for the shrinking of Lake Chad, but the reasons are not enough to explain the quantity of water removed from the lake. We are still researching to know what else is taking the water from the lake so that we can be able to rectify that. The government is doing its best to ensure that Lake Chad is recharged, but it takes regional, national and global contributions to achieve that.”

Speaking earlier, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, who was represented by Director River Basin, Nigeria, Dr John Ochigbo, said that the concept of Ecohydrology is gaining ground worldwide as a problem-solving science and it is imperative to create interest in implementing this novel approach to water and environmental management for sustainable livelihood.

He said: “I am aware that this workshop has brought together Water Resources Experts, Practitioners, Managers, Policy Makers, Scientists, Civil Society Organizations to share knowledge, exchange information and collaborate on how ecohydrological solutions and innovations can be practically deployed to address challenges related to water quality and the environmental management. The concept of Ecohydrology is gaining ground worldwide as a problem-solving science and it is imperative to create interest in implementing this novel approach to water and environmental management for sustainable livelihood.

“Many water professionals and practitioners have engineering background with little or no knowledge of how to adapt Ecohydrology approaches in their work. Thus, there is the need to enhance understanding of Ecohydrology and empower sector professionals with its necessary tools to implement Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and achieve water security.

“The idea of Ecohydrology is not to contest but rather complement hydro-technical solutions to water resources management considering the progressing degradation of water and ecosystem resources in the sub-region. I am aware that this event seeks to significantly contribute towards UNESC0-IHP’s Phase 8 and its Strategic Plan for 2014-2021 with the theme: “Water Security Responses to local, regional and global challenges”, as well as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

“These global agenda align perfectly with one of my Ministry’s flagship programmes, the “Clean Nigeria Campaign” launched in November, 2018 by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo GCFR. The Campaign has been pursued with vigour by this Government to ensure that Nigeria becomes an open defecation free country by the year 2025. This workshop is therefore apt as its outcome will deliver on ways to enhance service delivery in the sector.

“I am convinced that this workshop will further provide tremendous insight into modern approaches for implementing IWRM, and how Ecohydrology can be used as practical tools for delivering IWRIM for healthy livelihood of our water bodies as well as their rich ecosystems.”