Nigeria, other African coun­tries in­ten­sify ef­forts on ground­wa­ter re­sources

Daily Trust - - ENVIRONMENT - By Chidimma C. Okeke

Nigeria and some African coun­tries have in­ten­si­fied their ef­forts in ex­plor­ing ground­wa­ter re­sources to tackle en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion aris­ing from over­ex­ploita­tion of the sur­face wa­ter in the Sub- Sa­hara re­gion.

This was stated by Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Nigeria Hy­dro­log­i­cal Ser­vices Agency (NIHSA), John Ayoade Sha­monda, at the weekend, dur­ing the meet­ing of coun­cil of min­is­ters on the OSS-As­sisted Project, tagged: ‘In­te­grated and Con­certed Wa­ter Re­sources Man­age­ment of the Aquifer sys­tems of Iulleme­den, Taoudeni/ Tanezrouft and the Niger River’.

Ac­cord­ing to Sha­monda, the col­lab­o­ra­tion which was ini­ti­ated in 2009 in Ba­mako, Mali, started with three coun­tries, Nigeria, Mali and Niger who are shar­ing the lulleme­den Aquifer, and the de­vel­op­ment part­ner de­cided to bring in other four coun­tries, Mau­ri­ta­nia, Burk­ina Faso, Al­ge­ria and Benin Repub­lic that share the Taoudeni/Tanezrouft basin in or­der to co­or­di­nate the trans-boundary aquifer re­sources in a con­certed ef­fort to achieve a sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment.

“The re­gional project aims at bring­ing multi-state co­op­er­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion on the use and man­age­ment of the trans-boundary ground­wa­ter re­sources basin, in the sub re­gion,” he said.

Sha­monda said that ground­wa­ter is known to be the most im­por­tant source of drink­ing wa­ter world­wide, adding: “Its quan­tity and qual­ity has been of global con­cern due to un­sus­tain­able util­i­sa­tion, di­verse in­puts of an­thro­pogenic pol­lu­tants and other fac­tors that cause changes in its bio­geo­chem­i­cal con­di­tions.

“Ground­wa­ter re­source is also of con­cern in other ar­eas such as large scale con­struc­tion projects, dams, min­ing, oil and gas ex­plo­ration etc. There­fore, there is the need to de­velop mea­sures to ef­fec­tively ex­ploit, pro­tect and man­age this re­source in a sound and sus­tain­able man­ner. Such ex­ploita­tion, pro­tec­tion and man­age­ment re­quire a good con­cep­tual un­der­stand­ing and quan­tifi­ca­tion of the pro­cesses that in­flu­ence ground­wa­ter pol­lu­tion.”

Ab­delka­der Dodo, OSS wa­ter pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor from Tu­nisia de­scribed the project as a huge one be­cause of its scope which goes be­yond 2 to 5 mil­lion square kilo­me­tres.

Ac­cord­ing to Dodo, be­cause of the neg­a­tive im­pact of cli­mate change, a lot re­mains to be done in terms of wa­ter sup­ply, for live­stock, min­ing and for agri­cul­ture.

“There is need to know the po­ten­tials of ground­wa­ter re­sources, be­cause in the fu­ture we can­not fo­cus all our at­ten­tion in Niger River, we must take care of the ground river be­cause the ground wa­ter is not vis­i­ble but it is shared and so no coun­try can im­ple­ment drilling of bore­holes with­out in­form­ing the other coun­tries,” he added.

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