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TRENDS IN WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN NIGERIA.

BY RAJI MUKTAR OLADAPO OF CIVIL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN, ILORIN, NIGERIA

1.0 INTRO DUCTION Water resources can be broadly grouped i nto two categories - f reshwater and marine water resources respectivel y. Freshwater resources consist of rivers and their plains, streams, lakes, wetlands and under gr ound water reser voirs. Rainfall can also be grouped under freshwater resources although man has no influence over its avail ability. On the other hand, marine water resources include lagoons, seas and the oceans. Sustainable welfare of man and indeed, all living things on earth depend on the wise and safe use of water. Freshwater resources provide the main source of safe drinki ng water for the human population, and also support agricultural acti vities through natural feeding, and irrigation practices, and it is far cheaper to use freshwater for industrial purposes. In many cases, freshwater resources, particularly rivers and l akes also perform recreational and transportation functions, while marine water resources are of vital importance, particularly for countries with seaward boundaries, providing the natural habitat for exploitable fishery resources.

2.0 RO LE OF WATER RESOU RCES Historically, water resources have played significant roles in the evolution of human societ y and ci vilisation. In Europe for instance, the Rhine valley, recognised as a locus of both co -operation and conflict was a primar y nexus of economic growth. In Africa, earl y ci vilisations such as those of t he Nile valley and plains provide another classic example of how seasonal inundation provided water and increased soil fertility that encouraged and enhanced agricultural productivit y. In the West African s ubregion, the Senegal and Ni ger ri vers played similar roles. In the same vein, the decline of some ci vilisations had been closel y associated in part with pr oblems of effecti ve water management and utilisation. Water resources also have political and cult ural dimensions, whi ch dimensions ultimatel y deter mine human settlement patterns, economic structures and opportunities that are available to the entire population. In the African continent for example, there had been several mi grations of peoples from one region to the other over the ages, influenced by water in terms of scarcit y and availability, with the stronger groups of people generally tending to move towards and settle close to the great rivers and lakes. 2

3.0 NIGERIAS WATER RESOURCES ENDOWMENT The Nigerian freshwat er environment consists of a number of rivers and their flood plains, streams, lakes and wetlands, with the rivers and streams relativel y evenl y distributed all over the countr y. Annual rainfall is however hi ghl y variable across the di fferent regions, var ying from about 250mm in the extreme north of the country, to about 500mm in the south. Rai nfall constitutes a significant source of water, with the annual renewable total estimated at about 319 billion cubic meters during the mid - 1980s. The distribution of average annual renewable water across the different hydrological areas (HAs) is as shown in Table 1. As can be seen from Table 1, both the Benue (Upper and Lower) and Lower Ni ger has constitute the largest source of annual renewable water in Ni geria. The Ni ger Ri ver is of great significance in the management of water resources, not only in Ni geria, but also in other countries in the West African sub -r egion. It is one of Africas 55 international rivers, traversing such countries as t he Republic of Benin, Bur kina Faso, Chad, Cote d Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Ni geria, and Sierra Leone. Within the context of co -operative management of water resources, it is important for us to note, that shared rivers have i mplications for the percep tion of water rights, as well as on the issue of national security and sover eignt y. The Benue is another maj or river in Ni geria. Other than the Niger and the Benue, the countr y has well over 40 ri vers and streams. There are also the large lakes, including the Chad and Kai nj i. The Nigerian sector of the Lake Chad has a total surface area of about 550,000 hectares, whi le the Kainj i Lake has a total surface area of about 127,000 hectares. These water bodies support a multiplicity of economic activities, including fishing, transportation and recreation. Most importantl y, all these freshwater bodies are the source of drinki ng water for a lar ge proportion of the population in areas where there are no public water suppl y facilities. The River Ni ger is al so the maj or source of hydroelectricity generation in the country and its delta is recognised as one of Africas maj or wetlands. The Niger delta occupies the lar gest proportion of the total land area of the geogr aphic south -eastern part of Ni geria. It supports a wide variet y of fish and other aquatic resources. It is also rich in petroleum and gas resources.

Table 1: Distribution of annual average yield of surf ace and ground w ater in Nigeria Hydrological area Average ground water annual water annual yield109 ( m 3 ) Chad Basin 8.2 North West 22.4 Upper/Lower Benue 83.0 West Littoral 35.4 Lower Ni ger 85.9 North Central 32.4 Total 267.3 Source: Adapted from Orubu (2006) Average surface yield109 ( m3) 5.6 4.3 11.4 9.0 13.4 8.2 51.9

4.0 NEED FOR WATER DEVELOPMENT In many African count ries, as elsewhere, the demand for water has been on the increase in recent years. This has been due t o a number of factors. The critical factors include phenomenal i ncrease in population; rising agricultural demand, urbanisation and associated water stress, as well as frequent droughts in the arid and semi -arid regions of the continent, where drought - induced water scarcities have brought social shocks on incipient fr agile economies.

5.0 WATER RESO URCES DEVELOPMENT A ND UTILISATIO N 1. Development of Water Projects: The variable regi me of the rivers necessitates provision of storage capacity in order to meet the water needs for various purposes. A total of some 142 dams: 60 lar ge ones ( with height above 15m) and 82 small and medium ones have been constructed or are under construction. The large -scale dam proj ects are concentrated (85 per cent) in t he five northern and central areas for perennial storage of wet season runoff to be released l ater for dry-season irrigation. Lake Chad provides natural storage and supports one of the maj or irrigation proj ects, namel y: South Chad Irri gation Project. However, it is a shallow lake 1.5 5m in depth, and its surface area is very sensitive to change in the level resulting from the basin's water balance (rainfall and inflows minus evaporation and seepage) . Over 90 per cent of the total inflow is contributed by the Chari -Logone river system outside Ni geria. In all, some 17,000 water wells have been sunk or drilled, almost exclusi vel y for water suppl y for humans and ani mals. About 85 per 4

cent of the boreholes are developed in three northern hydrological areas where the large -scale dams have also been developed in response to their water problems.

2. Water Supply: The States, through their water suppl y agenci es (WSA), have primar y responsibilit y for urban water supply. The River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) release water from their dams to State agencies at agreed rates of charge for water supply developme nt. A number of changes which occurred since 1985 have however si gnificantly shaped the policy horizon for urban and rural water suppl y management. The urban centres served (95 per cent) have, on the average, 62 litres per capita per day (lpcpd) while the level f or rur al areas ser ved is 24 lpcpd. An average of at least 112 l/c/d is recommended for the hot climatic conditions of the nation's developing economy.

3. Irrigation: The estimated irrigable area in Ni geria is of the order of 500,000ha, but the actual irrigated area is only 60,000ha, made up of 53,000ha in RBDA proj ects, while the States account for 7,000ha. The maj or irrigation proj ects include Bakolori in Sototo State (23,000ha); Dadin Kowa in Gombe State (44,000 ha); Kano River Proj ect (Tiga Dam, 250 00 ha) and Challawa Gor ge, (25,000ha) both in Kano State. About 150 new proj ects covering one mill ion ha of irrigable ar ea and including storage dams, di ver dams, inter basin water transfer, and ri ver tr aining have been pro- posed for future i mplementation .

4. Hydro-electric Pow er: NEPA's power system has grown rapidl y from suppl ying a peak demand of 576 MW in 1975 to 1,329 MW in 1981, with a total system capacit y of 2,408 MW in 1982 of which hydro power component was 32 per cent. Onl y 1 1,448 MW was however available in 1982. The installed capacity of potential hydro development gi ves Namplate capability (at plant factor of 0.5) of 6,530 MW and average annual energy of 30,690 Gwh from 29 hydropower proj ects (Motor Columbus, el al, 1980) .

5. Navigation: The i mpr ovement in river flow through regulation by dam and associated reservoirs such as Jebba, Shiroro, Kainj i, Lagdo (Cameroun) and, eventuall y, Zungeru has led to real and potential long -ter m expansion of the inland waterways. The navi gable distance on the Ni g er is 560km at the lowest acceptable 5

draft (LAD) of 1.5 2.5m and present navi gation season of 8 -1 months with possibility of 12 mont hs but, in each case, with reduction by one month during the dry season due to upst ream agricultural development utilisation .

6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS First there is need t o move up the water access rating to cover a lar ger proportion of the population as well as the number of people who have access to modern sanitation, i n order to enhance the quality of life. There is also the need to pay greater attention to increasing the supply of water for irrigation purposes, in areas of less rainfall and those susceptible to drought, as well as protecting vulnerable habitats from sea erosion and the possible adverse effec ts of sea level rise. On a bit -by-bit basis, the opti mal strategy choice must gi ve due consideration to the subsidiar y principle in the management of common proper ty resources, by decentralising responsibility for the production and distribution of water for consumpti ve uses; the need to accept the corollary of stakeholder participation in the design and implementation of water supply schemes; pricing water

resources efficiently to reflect calculations of willingness to pay by consumers and experi menting wit h mass pri vate sector participation in the production and supply of water for various for ms of consumptive use. There is also the need to strengthen managerial efficiency of public

provisioning to ensure a competiti ve leverage for the water mar ket in addition to the provision of supportive infrastructure for urban and country planning to integrate the product ion of water with sound sanitation practices. Genuine efforts must also be made to develop a cr edible legal structure to deal with cases of wilful destruction of water facilities. There is also the need for adequate preparation of water development proj ects properly before i mplementation, and the reduction of dependence on external resources by adopting simple technologies, developing local skills for operation of water schemes and creating appropriate incentive environment for the emer gence of local manufacturers of wat er equipment and chemicals. Most importantly the ti me has come to invol ve the Ni gerian pri vate sector in the production and gener al distribution of water, particularly in urban centres, within the general framewor k of an integrat ed urban planning model. 6

7.0 CO NCLUSIO N Ni geria is endowed with abundant water resources. The per capita share of surface water alone is of the order of 3,0 00m per annum. Areas which are deficient in surface water (e.g. the Sahelian zone) or whose surface water is contaminated by saline intrusion or oil pollutant (e.g. Ni g Delta) are adequately compensated with ground water resources. The lower reliability of the runoff resulting from the variable regi me, however , necessitates flow regulation by dams. There is need plan and design such dams on the basis of adequate hydrol ogical data and in coordination with the upstream riparian stat es which control what reach es as Ni geria fr om the maj or river and lake basins such as the Ni ger, Benue and the Chad.

8.0 REFERENCES. 1. Christopher O. Orubu: Water Resources, Environment and Sustainable Development in Nigeria (2006) 2. http://www.onlineni geria.com/