28 June 2012

Nigeria: Study Reveals Impact of Climate Change On Water, Sanitation in Nigeria

Preliminary findings from a new study commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the African Adaptation Programme (AAP) in Nigeria have linked water stress in the country to climate change.

The study, 'Assessment Study on the Impact of Climate Change on the Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) sector in Nigeria', has the aim of exploring how climate variability affects access to safe drinking water and sanitation service for Nigerians at urban and rural areas. It is been conducted by a non-governmental organization, the Bread of Life Development Foundation.

The findings made available to Daily Trust noted that: "Climate change will affect urban and rural water in Nigeria through unpredictable rainfall leading to inadequate recharge of aquifers and surface water.

"Rainfall variability in Nigeria is likely to have a drastic effect on river discharges. A deficit of 20 to 30 per cent in rainfall results in a water shortage or deficit of 40 to 60 per cent. Climate variability resulting in floods can have catastrophic consequences for basic water infrastructure. Such damage can take years to repair. On a smaller scale, drinking-water infrastructure can be hooded and put out of commission for days, weeks or months," the study noted.

"Where sanitation facilities are flooded, there may not only be a break in services, but the flooding may distribute human excreta and its attendant health risks across entire neighbourhoods and communities," it added.

It noted that where long-term rainfall increases, groundwater levels may rise, decreasing the efficiency of natural purification processes, increasing risks of infectious diseases and of exposure to toxic chemicals.

"Other potential indirect effects of climate change on the water supply and sanitation situation include the impacts of energy interruptions, increasing the unreliability of piped water and sewerage services. Climate variability and change increasingly threaten the supply of safe water through man-made infrastructure, as well as water-related ecosystem services," the study said.

In the year 2008, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with several partners, launched the Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) to address Climate Change in Africa. Other partners are the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The AAP is being implemented in 20 African countries including Nigeria. AAP in Nigeria seeks to promote an integrated approach to adaptation to climate change through building the governance system, empowering children as change agents and demonstrating adaptation benefits in the agricultural sector.

AAP activities in Nigeria also entail developing the enabling environment by supporting a coherent policy and strategy development process, led by UNDP; facilitating a systematic approach to capacity development in key institutions, including women's leadership; and strengthening ability to expand funds for adaptation. Among its expected outputs is increasing and sharing knowledge on adjusting national development processes to fully incorporate climate change risks and opportunities.

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