NIWE calls on NASS to pass National Water Resources Bill
By Peter Usman://
The Nigerian Institute of Water Engineers , NIWE has called on the National Assembly to expedite action to pass the National Water Resources Bill for the purposeof promoting rapid development in the water sector.
NIWE made the call during the week in a communiqué issued after a 3-Day International Water Conference held in Abuja, with the theme: “Innovative Solutions to Water Supply and Water Infrastructural Challenges in Nigeria”
The communiqué also state that there was the need to pursue aggressively, the revegetation of semi-arid zones in the country to combat climate change, adding that Government should prioritize the use of complimentary solutions to improve the operation and maintenance of existing water infrastructures.
It said, State Water Corporations needs to be empowered to fulfil their statutory mandate, while State Governments should establish regulatory agencies to regulate the Water supply subsector for efficiency and performance.
The communiqué said, Dam safety is crucial to the sustainability of downstream communities and ecosystem, considering the fact that Nigeria has over 140 large Dams and about 330 small Dams all over the country, saying these infrastructures should be optimized for better service delivery.
“There is a need to pursue aggressively, the revegetation of semi-arid zones in the country to combat climate change. Government should prioritize the use of complimentary solutions to improve the operation and maintenance of existing water infrastructures. There is also the need to bridge the obvious gap between policy, research and industry in the water sector.
“Water resources development is still in the concurrent list on the present Nigerian Constitution, hampering other federating units from playing their roles in developing and managing water at the local level. There is a need of conserving excess water for future use, particularly in drought prone areas inter-basin water transfers and the use of managed aquifer recharge is highly recommended.
“Groundwater is not an exclusive resource and needs to be regulated and surcharge applied for over abstraction.”
It recommended the appointment of Professional Boards for Water Sector Agencies and competitive recruitment for Chief Executive Officers, saying that State Water Boards need to be empowered to manage their own finances and procurement.
“Establishment of waste treatment facilities in states is crucial to water quality management, sanitation and pollution prevention. Establishment of clear regulatory framework for the water sector is key – tariff, quality of service, production of annual performance reports.
“There is the presence of a WASH curriculum from Primary to Tertiary Schools developed by the National Water Resources Institut, NWRI, Kaduna and three Universities have adopted it and implementing it at the moment. This should be replicated nationwide.
‘Waste water is being used for vegetable farming in urban centres such as Kano, Kaduna and Lagos with attendant health effects on the populace. Regulators and public health officials should come to the aid of local people by ensuring that irrigation water is of adequate quality.
“Nature–based water Treatment materials such as plants etc. have no negative health implications and can improve economy and create jobs if pursued.
Water and wastewater treatment infrastructures can be simulated and optimized using relevant software.
“This was found to be very effective for the management of such facilities.Capacity Building is key to effective planning, operation and maintenance of water supply and water infrastructures.
“Engineers need to increase their participation in politics for effective engineering related legislations. State governments and industries are encouraged to construct waste water treatment facilities all over the country.
“Nature-Based water treatment solutions are viable alternatives to chemical coagulants and research must be intensified in this regard. The passage of the National Water Resources Bill has become an imperative to be urgently done without any delay.
“Local Government Areas (LGAs) should be empowered to develop and manage water supply infrastructures in their areas while existing State Water Agencies should become regulators in their respective states.”
During the dinner on the 3rd day of the conference, some members of the institute, were conferred Distinguished Fellowship of the Nigerian Institute of Water Engineers by NIWA National Chairman, Engr. Chinyere Nnenna Igwegbe.