NIGERIA has been listed among 48 countries that would experience water shortage by the year 2025, Country Representative, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Dr. Louise Setsltwaelo, has stated.
Also, Water Aid Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Michael Ojo, has said the country might not meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on water and sanitation until 2023. The target year for the MDGs is 2015.
Setsltwaelo, at the “World Water Day” celebration held yesterday in Abuja, said: “As the population increases, demand for food and hence for water is also growing, and will continue to do so as the world struggles to produce more food to feed the seven billion people now and nine billion people by 2050. This is expected to create serious pressure on available water resource”.
She stated that securing sufficient food supplies to feed the populations would demand more efficient management of water, stressing the need for government at all levels to prioritise adequate provision of potable water for the citizenry.
United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon in an address read by Setsltwaelo, said: “Guaranteeing sustainable food and water security for all will require the full engagement of all sectors and actors. It will entail transferring appropriate water technologies, empowering small food producers and conserving essential ecosystem.”
Ojo lamented that Nigeria loses 1.8 per cent of its Gross Domestic Products yearly to lack of potable water, urging the government to take the lead in water provision campaign and sanitation for all by 2015.
In her address, Minister of Water Resource, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, said the role of water in poverty reduction, social infrastructure, health, environment and other aspects of human development and welfare cannot be over-emphasised.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State government has pledged to improve potable water supply and sanitation in the state, disclosing that it has earmarked N3.2 billion for the purpose this year.
Besides, Governor Kayode Fayemi said N100 million was released last year to improve sanitation in the state. Fayemi disclosed this at a stakeholders’ forum to commemorate “World Water Day.”
He said his administration was working on improving existing water schemes and constructing new ones across the state, alongside some development partners like the World Bank, the European Union and the AfDB.
Director, Justice Development and Peace Initiative (JDPI) of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti, Rev. Fr. Raphael Borisade, commended the state government for its plans to improve water supply and sanitation in the state.
However, Borisade stressed that the programmes should be well implemented to ensure adequate provision of water.
The JDPI director said WaterAid had sunk over 43 boreholes across Ilejemeje, Ikole and Ekiti South West local councils in the state but regretted that most of the boreholes had broken down due to lack of maintenance.
And, although it recently commissioned three major water works in its three senatorial districts, the Benue State government has budgeted N500 million to boost rural water scheme this year.
Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, John Ngbede, stated this yesterday in Markurdi where the “World Water Day” was also marked.
Ngbede said the fund would be used to construct more water dams and boreholes across the state to complement the commissioned ones.
He implored the people to use the day to create awareness on water usage and sanitation.
Announcing the new water rates introduced by the state government in line with the new principle on taxation, Ngbede assured that only directly served households would be billed.
The commissioner, who decried the poor attitude of Benue residents to sanitation, stated that it would soon become mandatory for every household in the state to own a wastebasket or else face prosecution.