Nigeria is able to impound about 34 billion cubic metres of water annually.
Nigeria loses 200 billion cubic metres of water to the oceans annually, an official of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Emmanuel Adanu, has said.
Mr. Adanu, the Director, Dams and Reservoir Operations in the Ministry, however, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday that the country had been able to impound 34 billion cubic metres of water.
“In Nigeria, we lose about 200 billion cubic metres of water every year into the ocean but we have been able to impound may be 34 billion cubic metres of water.
“That is what we have now, so we have to increase on our impoundment because that is the water we use for our development,” he said.
He said that efforts were being made to impound more water through the construction of more dams. He also said that the world lost 4.6 billion cubic metres of water to the oceans every second because the capacity to hold the water was not sufficient.
According to him, water as a resource passes countries through their rivers to the oceans and these waters are meant to be impounded. He said if these waters were not impounded during this passage and allowed to get to the oceans, it would become salt water and no longer fresh which, he said, was not healthy.
He said the major responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources was to ensure that adequate water was saved for the use of the citizens.
“If a river passes through your country and discharges water into the ocean you have lost it, that’s the fresh water, so we are trying to impound as much of that water as possible. Because in the whole world about 4.6billion cubic metres of water is lost to the ocean per second so what we do is try to hold back this water if it is within your geographic region.
“The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is supposed to make sure the country has enough water for use anytime, for comfortable living, industrialisation, general well-being. We are not specifically here to serve any sector or sub-sector; we are here to make sure that water is available for Nigerians for all purposes,” he said.
Mr. Adanu said that the increase in population was not commensurate with available water, which he noted, had not increased since creation. He said the volume of water had remained constant since creation and that only 3 per cent of such water was fresh with the remaining percentage being salt water.
“Water was created about four thousand million years ago when the earth was created and since then the volume has not increased, but population has been increasing; so the per capita availability is decreasing.
“And this volume of water that is available is the fresh one; over 70 per cent of the surface of the earth is covered with water but less than 3 per cent of it is fresh; the rest is in the ocean as salt water.
“As the statistics keeps going you know that the water available to us is just small and this water is the one that is circulating which everybody is scrambling for; if it passes through your country as much as possible just accommodate it,” he said.
Mr. Adanu explained that rainfall would not increase the volume of water as it evaporated into the atmosphere.
“The rain water is the same water; it’s just an evaporation; it goes and comes down within the earth; it is the same water just moving around, but the total volume is constant,” he said.