By Tosin Kolade
Nigeria has begun the processes to adopt eco-hydrological solutions and innovations to address water challenges.
Eco-hydrology uses the understanding of relationships between hydrological human influences to improve water security, enhance biodiversity and further opportunities for sustainable water resources development.
This was disclosed on Monday by Mr John Ochigbo, Director, River Basin Operations and Inspectorate, who represented the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, at a four-day regional workshop.
The workshop on: “Strengthening eco-hydrological approach as a tool for enhancing water quality in West Africa’’, was organised by the National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna, in collaboration with UNESCO.
Ochigbo said the idea of eco-hydrology was not to contest but to complement hydro-technical solutions to water resources management.
He said that eco-hydrology solutions and innovations would make way for high quality considering the progressing degradation of water and ecosystem resources in the West African sub-region.
“Eco-hydrology is gaining ground worldwide as a problem-solving science and it is imperative to create interest in implementing this novel approach to water environmental management for sustainable livelihood.
“Many water professionals and practitioners have engineering background with little or no knowledge of how to adapt eco-hydrology approaches in their work.
“There is the need to enhance understanding of eco-hydrology and empower sector professionals with necessary tools to implement Integrated Water Resources Management and achieve water security,’’ Ochigbo said.
In her address of welcome, Dr Dimitri Sanga, of UNESCO’s regional office in Dakar, noted that millions of populations, especially people in Africa faced water crisis at a large scale.
“There is the need for proper management of water, especially in Africa as it plays a fundamental role to ensure that there was enough to drink, to grow food and to maintain good sanitary conditions.
“Water has ecological, social and economic dimensions and its management can have consequences or benefits for communities, groups and individuals around the world, especially in Africa.
“We rely so much on water as an important life support system, but water faces persistent threats from overuse, contamination, population pressure and adverse climate change impacts.
“As such broadening applications of eco-hydrology will be indispensable to solve these problems,’’ she said.
In his goodwill message, the Secretary-General, Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Olagunju Idowu, stated that Nigeria had witnessed the outbreak of many diseases as a result of poor hygiene.
“In 2005, West Africa recorded more than 63,000 cases of cholera leading to 1,000 deaths. Senegal was severely affected following the rainy season flooding,’’ he said.
Idowu called on Nigerians to embrace the technological drive which would enable the country to improve access to clean water. (NAN)