The Federal government has approved a new water policy that will improve the management and delivery of water in the country.
Speaking to State House Correspondents on Wednesday after the Federal Executive council ( FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu said the council approved the National Water Policy, National Irrigation Policy and a Draft National Water Resources Bill.
Adamu said,”National Water Policy, seeks to provide strategies that will improve the management and delivery of water in the country in particular reference to water supply.
He pointed out that it is followed by the enabling law, that is National Water Resources Bill, which essentially consolidates all the existing laws, the Water Resources Act, the River Basin Development Authority Act, National Water Resources Institute Act, National Hydrological Services Act and other Acts put together to form a national law that conforms international standard and international best practices.
According to him” By so doing we have been able to streamline many of the overlapping laws, sometimes we have conflict in laws, like the one we have with NIWA, some laws relating to environment, mining.
Adamu noted that the bill seeks to sought out all those issues so that Nigeria can have a standard national law, also so that the country can set up a proper regulatory agency to regulate the water sector.
He added that ” With that the door is now open for the private sector to come in in a big way to invest in water supply schemes in this country.
“The irrigation and drainage policy seeks to recognise and bring in water users association and generally improve not only irrigation infrastructure but irrigation management in the country. ”
He observed that Nigeria has the potential of 3.4 million hectares of land for irrigation and have only been able to reach only about 130,000 has been developed formally and only about 70,000 is being utilised.
“So there is a huge gap and we feel that introducing this policy will help us to work along at federal and at regional level with the states so that we will have all encompassing policy that will help our agriculture agenda for now.
“And also support our national irrigation policy that introduce under a roadmap that is suppose to be from this year to 2030. It won’t go well without this policy”.
“So is a good thing that we brought the three policy together and we believe the water resources sector is going to be entirely different ball game from now on, He added.
On his part, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said water today like no other time has become one of the most important resources with economic, social and political implications.
According to him , the judicious use/allocation of water for human, animals, livestock, industry has become more than ever one of the serious issues facing humanity.
” As a matter of fact many countries have gone to war over the issue of water. So I believe is only timely that Nigeria is proactive and as consider the issue of water resources as not one that should be left in the hands of anybody but a federal government took it seriously, He stated.