A Dam is a barrier constructed across a water course to impound or divert the water. A Dam is constructed for one or more uses such as Water Supply, Irrigation, Hydropower Generation, etc.

There are over 400 Dams in Nigeria located in various parts of the country.

These Dams are constructed for water supply, hydropower, irrigation, flood control, fishery, tourism etc.

The Department of Dams and Reservoir Operations is mandated to undertake the Planning, Designing, Supervision of construction and regulating of all Dams and Reservoirs in Nigeria. The Department is headed by the Director of Dams and Reservoir Operations.

The Department is divided into five (5) Technical Divisions as approved by the Head of Service of the Federation in the recently concluded reform of the Ministry structure. Each Division is headed by a Deputy Director as follows;

  • Dam Engineering Services
  • Dam Safety and Instrumentation
  • Hydropower Development
  • Dam Reservoir Operations
  • Geotechnical and Support Services

Functions of the Department

The followings among others, are the functions of the Department:

  • Conducting feasibility studies for Dams site selection, topographical survey, geological, geophysical, geotechnical and hydrological studies of Dam sites before commencement of any Dam construction.
  • Conduct and Supervise Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Studies and Environmental Audit of Dam projects.
  • Formulation and implementation of appropriate guidelines, policies and programmes for planning, design, development, operation and maintenance of Dams and storage schemes undertaken by River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA’s), States Water Boards and Private Agencies throughout the country. This is facilitated by proper liaising with Dam Regulatory and Operational Bodies (Internal and External) such as Nigerian Committee on Large Dams (NICOLD) and International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).
  • Construction supervision of Dams and Hydropower projects in accordance with the provisions of the Water Resources Master Plan (WRMP).
  • Study of Hydropower potentials of new and existing Dam sites.
  • Ensuring safety and functionality of all existing Dams in the country by undertaking studies and organizing Dams and Reservoir safety inspection of completed and on-going Dams and ensuring installation of safety devices in all on-going Dams.
  • Undertake the analysis of Dam surveillance data and preparation of programme for periodic evaluation as well as rehabilitation and modifications of all existing Dams nationwide.
  • Developing specific reservoir operation models for major reservoirs in the country, establishing standards for management of reservoir water quality and organising and attending seminars, workshops, meetings and conferences on strategies for efficient and effective control of Dams and reservoirs in Nigeria.
  • Enhancing in-house capability of RBDA’s through direct labour execution of small Dams for irrigation and water supply at village/community level by proper harnessing of both human and material resources of the respective RBDA’s.
  • Ensuring that Dams are constructed in accordance with the provisions of National Water Resources Master Plan and with best Engineering Practice.
  • Ensuring the inter-basin transfer of water from areas of surplus to areas of scarcity.
  • Ensuring that the regulatory framework for construction of Dams (irrespective of the reservoir capacity) which are either trans-boundary/interstate in spread and or multipurpose in use is the sole responsibility of the Federal Government.
  • Mobilization for greater participation of International Donor Agencies.

Major Accomplishments

  1. Dams Projects completed (2016-2021):
    • Kashimbilla Multipurpose Dam, Benue State
    • Ogwashi-Uku Dam, Delta State
    • Ibiono-Ibom Dam, Akwa Ibom State
    • Amauzari Earth Dam, Imo State
    • Amla Oturkpo Small Earth, Benue State
    • Gimi Dam, Kaduna State
    • Sulma Dam, Katsina State
    • Kampe Omi Dam (Rehabilitation), Kogi State
    • Kargo Dam (Rehabilitation), Kaduna State
    • Adada Dam, Enugu Sate
    • Gadau/Lafia Zigau, Bauchi State
    • Alajue Small Earth Dam, Osun State
    • Mangu Dam, Plateau State
  2. Concessioning of Gurara phase I 30MW Hydropower.
  3. One Year Operation and Maintenance of the 3.0M Diameter Conveyance Pipeline (Including Training of Clients Staff) of the Gurara Water Transfer to FCT.
  4. Signing EPC Contract of Guraraphase II Dam Project with 360MW Hydropower
  5. Initiation of Itisi Multipurpose Dam (Water Supply, Irrigation & Hydropower) Project in Kaduna State.
  6. Initiation of Hawal Interbasin Water Transfer Project.

Hydropower Projects

It is worthy to mention that the Department has collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Power (FMP), to develop the Nigerian Power Sector Investment Opportunities and Guidelines for willing investors to take advantage of the hydropower potentials that exist in some of our dams.Works on Dadin Kowa Hydropower Project already concessioned is ready for commissioning. Also, works on Tiga and Challawa Hydropower projects concessioned to the Kano State Government is on-going.FMWR is collaborating with FMP for potential Hydropower generation development, under PPP arrangement, these are:

  • The Kashimbilla Dam Hydropower plant – 40MW;
  • Gurara Dam Hdropower Project – 30MW;
  • Dadin Kowa Dam Hydropower plant – 15MW;
  • Tiga Dam Hydropower plant – 20MW;
  • Challawa Gorge Dam Hydropower plant – 10MW;
  • Mangu Dam Hydropower Plant – 182MW;
  • Guraraphase II Multipurpose Dam – 360MW;
  • Itisi Multipurpose Dam Hydropower Plant – 40MW and
  • Farin-Ruwa Dam Hydropower Plant – 20MW; 

Membership with Local and Foreign Professional Bodies

The Department of Dams & Reservoir Operations is affiliated with the following bodies; Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers & Geoscientists (COMEG), Nigerian Association of Hydrogeologists (NAH), Nigerian Committee on Large Dams (NICOLD) and International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).