Nigeria, other African countries intensify efforts on groundwater resources
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.