Abuja — Engineers have canvassed the need for comprehensive institutional reforms and national policies to improve water governance in the country, saying that the passage of National Water Act (NWA) is inevitable.
This was part of the deliberation at the 3rd water conference in Abuja yesterday, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Water Engineers (NIWE), with the theme, "Water Governance in Nigeria: Past, Present and the Way Forward".
In his address, the president of Nigeria Hydropower Professional Association (NHPA), Engr Imo Ekpo stated that due to population growth in Nigeria, degradation of water quality, flooding and other hydrological crisis caused by climate change, posed serious concern on water security, which he believed that effective water governance would address.
Ekpo, who was the keynote speaker, said that up to 90 percent of waste water in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and highly productive coastal zones, thereby threatening health, food security and access to safe drinking and bathing water.
On her part, the national president of NIWE, Engr Chinyere Nnenna Igwegbe said the Water Resources Bill when passed into law, would culminate to job creation, empowerment, wealth creation and poverty reduction in the country.
She assured that NIWE would engage in Open Defecation Feee (ODF) advocacy, promote water-related inventions and innovations for start-ups, and partner with relevant organisations towards the development of the sector.
In his presentation titled, "Effective River Basin Management in Nigeria", the executive director of Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority (RBDA's), Engr Charles Ovwigho said that inadequate funding and uncoordinated approach in the development of water resources and agriculture led to abandoned projects dotting the entire landscape of the country.
He listed the challenges obstructing the effective management of River Basins in Nigeria as inconsistency in government policies and programmes, poor and inadequate legislation to regulate the water sector; lack of processing, packaging and storage facilities, and poor regulation of standard manufacturing farm inputs.