PRESS STATEMENT BY ENGR. SULEIMAN H. ADAMU, FNSE, FAENG., HONOURABLE MINISTER, FMWR FOR THE 2021 WORLD WATER DAY CELEBRATION, HOLDING AT BOLTON WHITE HOTEL, AREA 11 GARKI-ABUJA ON 22ND MARCH, 2021
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 2021 World Water Day Press conference aimed at advocating for government and key actors’ commitment, ensuring adequate investment in institutions, infrastructure, information and innovation to realize the many benefits derived from water and reduce risks associated with it.
- Every March 22nd globally, the Government and other concerned Organisations and Agencies come together to celebrate and raise awareness on the poor and vulnerable populations living without access to safe and clean water.
- The objective of this global event is to galvanize action towards active response to water crisis and seek out innovative measures to improve access to potable water supply while achieving the targets set out in the sustainable development goal 6 – Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.
- Water for all implies that the elderly, disabled, marginalized and poor people get access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6.1 and 6.2. Whoever you are, wherever you are you have right to water. The UN recognizes access to water as a human right which entitles everyone without discrimination to sufficient, safe, acceptable and affordable water for personal and domestic uses; which include water for drinking, sanitation, food preparation, personal and household hygiene, etc.
- Water is a precious resource, just like the air we breathe. We need it for life and it is required in abundance. Our water demand is increasing year by year for domestic, agriculture, industrial, transport, hydropower, tourism among others. It implies that water is central to the basic needs of life. These uses give water the right premium in terms of value and respect worldwide.
- The theme for this year’s (2021) World Water Day is “Valuing Water.” This focuses on different ways water benefits lives and how we can value water properly and safeguard it effectively for everyone in the present and future generations. It also extends beyond issues of pricing to include the environmental, social, and cultural values people place on water.
- To ensure the sustainability on water value, the principle of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) needs to be imbibed to promote the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximize economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising vital ecosystems and the environment. In this regard, the Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Commission (NIWRMC) was set up to ensure the operationalization of IWRM in the sector.
- The multiplicity of water value cuts across Potable Water Supply, Agriculture, Environment, Health, Sanitation, Energy, Industry, Transportation and other areas of global developmental concerns. The premium attached to water infrastructure in national development reflects its value in the agenda of any nation. Investment in water infrastructure produces significant multiplier effect on several other sectors with tremendous impact on overall national development. Some of the initiatives put in place by the Buhari Administration include the following:
- PEWASH Programme to boost collaboration/partnership within the three tiers of Government;
- Clean Nigeria Campaign to end open defecation by 2025;
- Construction of dams for water supply, power supply, irrigation tourism and aquaculture;
- Youth Empowerment Programme to reduce unemployment;
- Songhai Model Farming for improved agricultural production;
- Development of a new flood application (APP) designed to be of practical value to water managers, technical experts, Disaster Risk Mangers; and
- Establishment of early warning system at flood risk areas to reduce exposure to incessant river flooding.
- Likewise, in order to address the issues of water quality, the Ministry has eight functional National Water Quality Laboratories located in Akure, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos, Kano, Minna, Maiduguri and Sokoto. There are also others in Asaba, Makurdi, Umuahia and Port-Harcourt which are near completion. Through these laboratories, the Ministry undertakes quarterly monitoring of the quality of the nation’s water resources via the Water Quality Network Monitoring programme based on sectoral best practices.
- Towards improving the value of water, there is need to provide appropriate legislative framework to create a stable and attractive environment for investors and development partners. It is in view of this that the Ministry is seriously engaging with the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the National Water Resources Bill into law.
- There is need to reiterate some of the problems that threaten the value of water in the country such as pollution of water bodies, security challenges at water points, institutional and human capacity weaknesses, inadequate power supply, lack of ownership of water facilities by beneficiary communities, as well as poor operations and maintenance culture. In addition, Global warming and climate change are also affecting the water cycle. From now on, there is an urgent need to conserve water otherwise there would be a day when there would be no water to drink.
- The Ministry intends to do more in the following areas:
- Increase public awareness about the value of water and public participation in water projects and programmes.
- Improve partnership with government at all levels, especially in the area of adequate budget allocation for water interventions.
- Increase Advocacy for the Water Bill across states;
- Encourage relevant stakeholders to increase resource mobilization and enhance investment in water infrastructure.
- Integrate Multi-Sectoral Actions in Covid-19 Response and Recovery.
- Upscale WASH Intervention Programmes
- Today as we commemorate 2021 World Water Day on the theme “Valuing Water, the Nigeria WASH Account Report 2018 will be launched. This document enables us to holistically track financing in and through the WASH Sector, particularly the expenditure on WASH from different entities such as the Government at different levels, Development Partners, NGOs, Private Sector and Households. This is intended to facilitate better planning and location of water facilities to have larger coverage or increase access to this finite product. The report showed that the total expenditure on WASH in the reporting year was 3.6 billion naira with the Government and Development Partners spending the most on water supply to sustain the wellbeing of human beings and ensure a healthy environment.
- It is worthy to note that sustaining the value of water requires the linkage of other goals such as Sustainable Development Goal1 (No Poverty), Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), Goal 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) for overall national development.
- Concluding, as Nigeria like many other countries grapples with the COVID-19 global pandemic outbreak, the importance of water is further highlighted in ensuring proper hygienic and sanitation practices. Therefore, the challenges related to water resources management must be addressed to ensure country wide access, adequacy and sustainability. We must balance all of society’s water needs while ensuring that at-risk groups such as; women, our Indigenous Peoples, Differently-Abled Persons (DAP’s) and youths are not marginalized.
- Lastly, let me reiterate the commitment of this Administration to continue collaborating with development partners and donors, including Action Against Hunger Nigeria, USAID, WaterAid, UNICEF, UNESCO amongst others, in engaging with a range of stakeholders and supporting government strategic approach to proper execution of water policies in the country. I specially appreciate Action Against Hunger in complementing the water sector efforts to address water, sanitation and hygiene challenges especially among the most vulnerable populations through their various projects in Borno, Jigawa, Kano and Yobe States which is going a long way in ensuring that Nigerians have sustainable access to safe and sufficient water.
- Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that as part of activities to mark the day and in addition to launching NIGERIA WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE (WASH) ACCOUNT – 2018, a Water Supply Scheme at ECWA Church, Chika Village Airport road will also be commissioned later today.
- Also, the Nigerian Institution of Water Engineers Abuja Chapter (NIWE) in commemoration of 2021 World Water Day has engaged Junior Secondary School students in a creativity competition to develop Bill Board and Jingles.
- The aim of the exercise has been to harness the innovative talents in the students and educate the society on the need to value water in the bid to achieve SDG 6 on safe water for all by 2030. The best school with captivating result will be awarded shortly. Furthermore, NIWE Abuja is recognizing the great commitment of some persons in ensuring safe water for all with WATER CHAMPION AWARDS.
- While wishing you a successful World Water Day Commemoration please join me as I launch the NIGERIA WASH ACCOUNT REPORT – 2018.
Thank you all for listening.