- I am highly delighted to address you on this very important event of the launching of the “Compendium and Digital Map of Damsin Nigeria”, “Compendium of IrrigationSchemes in Nigeria” and the “Code of Practice for Dam ReservoirOperations in Nigeria”. It is also very heartwarming for me to launch the documentary “Swimming Against the Tides”.
- Water is critical to life and livelihood and it is a basic input in almost all sectors of the economy. No meaningful development can take place inthe absence of water. Unfortunately, this important natural resource is not evenly distributed in space and time. In some areas, it is in abundance and in others, it is either in limited quantity or unavailable. Water resource is subject to increasing competitive demand. Global population growth leads to escalation of tension over water requirement for energy and food security. To effectively support national development, water is needed in the desired quantity, quality, at the right time and place.
- In order to ensure availability of water for various purposes, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, State and Local Governments, as well as Corporate Organizations andindividuals have for several years embarked on constructionof dams.
Dam construction is borne out of the need to harness the immense potential benefits derivable from them. Dams are considered critical in the sustainable development and management of our infinite water resources. Dams store water during periods of excess flow, so that water can be released from the reservoir during periods of lean or no flow to meet the demand of water users.
The history of dam construction in Nigeria dates back to 1918 with the construction of single purpose Kwall Stream and Ngell Dams in the present-day Plateau State. These two dams are used for hydropower generation. Since then, a good number of dams of various sizes and purposes have been built all over the country up to present day.
- Nigeria is one of the countries in Africa with the highest number of dams. However, the exact numbers of these dams have always been subjected to estimation. There is no comprehensive documentation of information on all dams in the country detailing, location, features, uses, status etc. The first attempt by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in collaboration with the Nigerian Committee on Large Dams (NICOLD) and the National Technical Sub-Committee on Dams and Reservoirs (NTSCD&R) at documentation of all dams in Nigeria was in 1995 with the production of the document “Nigeria Register of Dams”. In 2007, the Ministry produced another document “Compendium of Dams in Nigeria”. These two documents did not attain the level of perfection desirable for their expected uses.
- On the other hand, comprehensive information on the collective efforts of successive Government interventions and private sector participation in the irrigation sub-sector over the years has been sketchy. For decades, there has been no digital inventory of irrigation projects in Nigeria to enable effective investment planning and proper management of the various schemes. Consequently, the necessity of effective planning to transform and stimulate the sub-sector brought about the need for a comprehensive data to properly document and harmonize all information on irrigation schemes in the country.
- On my assumption of office as the Honourable Minister of Water Resources in 2015, I directed that an inventory of all dams and irrigation schemes in Nigeria be undertaken. This was to ascertain the actual number of the dams and irrigation schemes and their categorization with a view to prioritizing them. Though, this exercise achieved its desired objective, the document produced did not meet the requirement for broader uses.
- It is important to mention that for proper planning and development, accurate data is a critical input. In realization of the need for a comprehensive data on dams and irrigation schemes nationwide, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in 2017 commenced the process of further documentation and harmonization of information on all dams and irrigation schemes in the country. This exercise has culminated with the production of the documents “Compendium and Digital Map of Dams in Nigeria” and the “Compendium of Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria.”
- The Compendium and Digital Map of Dams in Nigeria is a national registry of all dams in the country. The features and status of each dam are presented. Let me mention that the Compendium of Dams in Nigeria is in conformity with the standard of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). The data provided therein will be of immense value to dam owners/operators and other interested parties.It will also attract and guide future investments in the water sector. A total of 408 dams are documented in the compendium as follows: 142 large dams, 59medium dams and 207small dams.
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as mentioned earlier, dams are built for various purposes some of which include water supply, hydropower generation, irrigation for all season farming, flood control etc. These benefits sometimes come at certain costs in social, economic and environmental terms. Nevertheless, to realize these immense developmental benefits, an effective and efficient operation and maintenance mechanism has to be put in place for dam reservoirs to forestall dam failure. This is so because the economic losses and environmental degradation resulting from dam failure are usually colossal.
- Hitherto, there was no standard document to regulate operation of dam reservoirs in the country. It is therefore a welcome development that today, we have a document “Code of Practice for Dam Reservoir Operations in Nigeria” to guide effective operation and maintenance of dam reservoirs nationwide. This document has been developed to ensure that our dams are performing safely and according to their design purposes. It outlines the series of procedures that are essential for proper dam operation, maintenance and the regular inspection required for proper functionality. The document which shall be adapted to every dam reservoir in the country, also, prescribes penalties for violation of any of the provisions of the Code.
- With regards to Irrigation Schemes Nationwide, organising irrigation farmers into “Water User Associations” or strengthening of same where they always exist is currentlyon-going. The purpose is to organizethe irrigation farmers into formidable groups as partners to Governmentand to build their capacities for effective operation and maintenance ofrelevant irrigation infrastructure. Altogether, 323 irrigation schemes aredocumented in the Irrigation Compendium across the six (6) geo-politicalzones of the country. They are classified based on ownership, status, scale,system, type and method of schemes as well as water and energy sources.
- The documentary “Swimming Against the Tides” is a detailed documentary evidence of very significant milestones recorded in my five years as Honourable Minister of Water Resources.
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honour and privilege to launch these four documents;“Compendium and Digital Map of Dams in Nigeria”, “Compendium of Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria”, “Code of Practice for Dam Reservoir Operations in Nigeria” and the documentary “Swimming Against the Tides”.
- Thank you for your kind attention.