World Water Day: CWAY, others advocate water security
According to Dr Roland Uwadiae, a marine scientist, Nigeria should strive to overcome water scarcity, which poses a threat to water security.
This was stated by Uwadiae, Associate Professor, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Lagos, on Wednesday during the World Water Day event organized by CWAY Group in Lagos.
The World Water Day, observed annually on March 22, raises awareness and inspires action to address the global water crisis, which affects 2.2 billion people who lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
The theme for World Water Day 2023 is: “Accelerating the change to solve the water and sanitation crisis.”
According to the World Health Organisation, 1.4 million people die annually and 74 million will have their lives shortened by diseases related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.
A report by UNICEF shows that over 86 per cent of Nigerians lack access to a safely managed drinking water source.
Uwadiae said that Nigeria has economic water scarcity when compared with other countries.
He noted that Nigeria has water but lacks infrastructure to distribute the water to citizens in dire need of it.
“Securing resources means finding the additional water resources needed to meet demand and respect the balance,” he said.
He said to achieve these, it must rely on human engineering and the ability to constantly innovate and come up with new solutions.
“This begins with technical solutions. In the future, we need to drill for water more deeply, transport it over longer distances, store it for longer and purify it more efficiently.
“We will develop new, cheaper and more advanced solutions, as the wider use of desalination and wastewater reuse.
“Technological innovation enables us to speed up the progress of new, smarter, more efficient, environment friendly, sustainable, and fairer solutions,” he said.
Uwadiae noted that globally, water security has become an integral part of every country’s national security and foreign policy.
“The right to water, so easily proclaimed yet so difficult to enforce, will be the common trend running through collective action and policy on water security.
“We must build to ensure that every drop of water is useful for basic needs,” he said.
According to him, water is not one Sustainable Development Goal among 17 others, saying it is the most precious element that enables the future of the planet.
He said that the World Water Day recommendation of universal right to water and access to water for all should be given a higher political priority.
Uwadiae said that financing water, better knowledge and shared governance were keys to implement water priority.
He added that urban and rural planning should include water security solutions as a prerequisite for any type of project.
According to him, electricity and water resources should both be approached as renewable resources.
He said that due to careless domestic, industrial and agricultural uses of water; resources in rivers, boreholes, water tables, dams and reservoirs were under pressure and rapidly being depleted.
To address this, Uwadiae stressed that water recycling and reuse should enter the country’s legal portfolio.
Similarly, Mr Deji Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, Lagos Water Corporation, said availability of water was directly proportional to increasing population.
Johnson noted that the demand for water in Lagos was 650 million gallons of daily.
He disclosed that the state could only produce 210 million gallons of water daily for its citizens.
He said that production at the two main waterworks and mini waterworks in various parts of the state was hampered by infrastructure challenges.
Johnson added that the state government had partnered different stakeholders to improve investment in infrastructure and technologies that would enhance access to clean and safe water.
Also, Mr Abiodun Suleiman, Sales Director, CWAY Group, said that the company organised the event as part of its commitment to promote sustainable clean water and conservation.
Suleiman said the firm, through its various corporate social responsibility initiatives, had provided access to safe water to communities that lack access to water.
“Since we began operations in Nigeria over two decades ago, we have made significant contributions toward providing clean drinking water to millions of Nigerians.
“We have also organised several water conservation campaigns aimed at educating the public on the need to use water responsibly.”
Suleiman said the company remains committed to ensuring that Nigerians have access to clean and safe water.