By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) — Worried by the lack of potable water to 31 percent Nigerians, the Federal Government has declared that efforts are underway to construct new additional 40 dams.
This, it said, would ensure long term approach towards addressing access to potable water, as well as drive wet and dry season farming for irrigation purposes.
Nigeria currently has up to 296 dams, although not optimally utilised, but the government said it is making frantic efforts to ensure more investments go further into it, to ensure improved access to potable water,and availability of water for irrigation purposes aimed at driving Federal Government’s food sufficiency.
Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, at the commemoration of World Water Day 2017, on Wednesday, in Abuja said this would address concerns raised by indiscriminate digging of boreholes across the country, which he said is already affecting ground water level availability in the country.
Available statistics have shown that only 69 percent of Nigerians have access to potable water, raising further concerns on Federal Government’s determination to close the 31 percent gap, given the commitment it made on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which has improved water supply at the heart of the goal.
To further buttress the SDGs priority, Benoit Sossou, the UNESCO Regional Director at the event said, “Access to safe water and sanitation services is essential to the human rights and dignity,and the survival of women and men across the world, especially the disadvantaged. This is vital for. Progress across the 2030 Agenda for sustainable goals and their interconnected targets”.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Rabi Jimeta, who spoke on the theme of commemoration, ‘Water and Waste Water’ said the Ministry has designed programmes to ensure right conservation of water to ensure it address wastage.
She noted that waste water is perceived as a valuable resources in the secular economy and it’s safe management as an efficient investment in the health of humans and preservation of the ecosystem cannot be overlooked.
Along the same vein, the Director of Water Supply in the Ministry, Benson Ajisegiri, said the Federal Government has been launching massive investment in rural water supply to address acute shortage of water in rural areas.
“The growing demand for potable water is on the rise,with the growing population of over 170 million Nigerians. The Minister has launched an investment driven programme to attract more Public Private Partnership (PPP) investment into the sector, and the focus is to drive investment from the government, from development partners, from the private sector, as well as different tiers of the government,” the director of water supply said.
He noted that already, the Federal Government has started receiving investment calls from development partners to drive investment in the water sector.