The Federal Government is set to finalize framework for the development of National Water Source Protection Policy.
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Adamu Suleiman, made this known at the formal inauguration of the technical committee on water source protection policy framework by the Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC), in Abuja on Tuesday.
Represented by the Director of Water Supply and Sanitation of the Ministry, Engr. Benson Ajisegiri, he explained that the purpose of water source protection plan is to provide sustainable security to water source against potential terror or harmful threats resulting from various human activities.
According to him, “Water source protection is an integral and vital aspect of national water development, if we hope to attain sustainability of our water resources for future generation.
“Within the water family, there is a saying that “water is life”; therefore, we must do all within our power to protect the very source of life.
“In this context, Terrorists undertake extreme actions to achieve their political goals. The numbers of terrorist-type groups are growing in Nigeria of recent and their methods are becoming more extreme.
“Water resources and water systems are viewed as vulnerable to terrorist attack for several reasons.
“Environmental terrorism refers to the unlawful use of force against environmental resources to destroy public or private property and deprive citizens of their benefits.
“This type of terrorism targets natural resources for destruction or alteration, as opposed to more traditional human-built targets such as buildings, roads, and vehicles.
“As with all types of terrorism, one of the underlying goals of environmental terrorism is to impose psychological trauma on the targeted population.”
He further added: “To address security issues related to various water infrastructures across the country, a partnership approach is being propose, involving Federal, State, local government, and Communal; private sector owners and operators and representative organizations; academic and professional entities; and certain not-for-profit and private volunteer organizations that share in the responsibility for protecting the Nation’s critical sector assets.”
The National Water Source Protection Policy Framework is expected to recommend the establishment of the following: To set up special National Security Brigade similar to Security and Civil Defense Corps for the purpose of water source protection task, and also to amend ‘Water Use and Licence Regulations 2016’ and adopt ‘water source protection plan’ a mandatory requirement in the process of issuance of water use licenses or authorizations processes similar to EIA regulations.
It will also develop strategic partnership framework for implementation of water source protection plan at federal, states, and local government of the federation, and develop National Water Security Policy Framework.
The Executive Director of the Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC), Mr. Reuben Haru, in his welcome address explained that the commission is seeking to engage reputable water policy expert to work with the commission to finalize the development of National Water Source Protection Regulations.
“In line with best global practices, there is a growing concern of recent among stakeholders on the need to provide effective security to water source, and to adopt ‘water source protection’ a mandatory requirement for granting licenses or approval to all planned water resources project in Nigeria.
“This is due to the fact that water supply systems are increasingly facing major operational problems or challenges in the form of escalating water treatment costs; high costs of maintenance of pumps or treatment equipment due to high rate of wear and tear; and fluctuating water quantities resulting in water shortages or complete drying of water sources.
“The water source protection guidelines would assist the users to identify associated risk to a water source and to engage the people and organizations responsible for the problem in a positive way that could lead to a mutually beneficial outcome.
“The guideline is expected to bring stakeholders together to identify feasible solutions and agree on a Water Source Protection Plan strategy to be adopted,” he said.