Dams & Reservoir Operations Department


The Department is mandated to undertake the planning, designing, supervision of construction and regulating of all dams and reservoirs in Nigeria. The activities of the Department are in line with the National Development Programmes, which are specially targeted at increasing per capita availability of water for all uses. It is made up of following Technical Divisions:

  1. Engineering Services
  2. Dam Instrumentation
  3. Dam and Hydropower
  4. Dam Safety/Reservoir Operation

Functions and Activities of the Department are:

  • Ensuring construction, operation and maintenance of medium and large dams in accordance with recognized engineering standards.
  • Ensuring the construction of medium and large dams in accordance with the National Water Resources Master Plan.
  • Ensuring the inter-basin transfer of water from areas of surplus to areas of scarcity
  • Ensuring that the construction of Dams of reservoir capacities in excess of 20 million m3, which are either trans-boundary/interstate in spread and or multipurpose in use shall be the responsibility of the Federal Government.

Membership with Local and Foreign Professional 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 Nigerian Committee on Large Dams (NICOLD) International Committee on Large Dams (ICOLD)

Capital Projects being Executed by the Department:

Nigeria has about 264 dams with a combined storage capacity of 33 BCM of water for multipurpose use that includes Water Supply, Irrigation, Hydropower, fisheries, eco-tourism etc., of which 210 are owned by the Federal Government, 34 by the States and 20 by private organizations. These dams have about 350,000 hectares of irrigable land around the vicinities ready for development.

There are also 27 ongoing small earth dams nationwide with a total potential irrigable land of 2,700 hectares.

Currently, the Department is engaged in the construction and rehabilitation of 33 dam projects and 27 Small Earth dams. Seven other major dams with a combined storage capacity of 2,269 million cubic meters have been completed. These are Gurara, Owiwi, Sabke, Owena, and Shagari dams as well as the rehabilitation of Goronyo and Alau dams. Owiwi multipurpose dam was commissioned by Mr. President in 2010. Rehabilitation works on Goronyo Dam have commenced on the emergency spillway, which was breached as a result of 2010 flooding.

Hydro Power

In line with the policy directive of government to increase energy supply to meet the nation’s energy demands, The Ministry is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Power on the aspect of handling the area of power generation component, while the Ministry handles the aspect of civil works in all the dam projects with hydropower potentials. Small hydropower schemes have been integrated into some dam projects across the country in order to increase the energy supply of the nation.

To date, the Department has identified and carried out studies on some of the completed and on-going dam projects for hydropower, nineteen (19) of which have the potentials for hydropower generation with a total capacity of 3,557 MW. These dam include; Gurara, Oyan, Ikere Gorge, Bakolori, Dadin Kowa, Tiga, Kiri, Jibiya, Challawa Gorge, Owena, Doma, Waya, Mgowo, Zobe, Kampe, Kashimbilla, Ogwashiku, Zungeru and Mambilla.