Archive Effects of lack of Water on Poverty

Effects of lack of Water on Poverty

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Camera 360“Water is life, for people and for the planet. It is essential to the well being of humankind and a basic requirement for the healthy functioning of all the world’s ecosystems. It is critical to fighting poverty and hunger, safeguarding human health, reducing child mortality, as well as managing and protecting our natural resources. But it is under increasing threat from climate change”.

This was at the 12th Chief S. L. Edu Memorial Lecture organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation with support from Chevron. The theme for the lecture is “Climate Resilient Water Resources Management for Poverty Reduction in Nigeria” given by Prof. Olukayode Oladipo, Professor in Climatology.

Prof. Oladipo in his lecture drew a parallel between water and poverty. He gave instances of states in the far north of Nigeria where people have to cross the border into Niger to fetch water. They cut trees and use the proceeds from the sale to get water. This is a sad occurrence considering Niger which is considered a poor country can provide water for its citizens yet the greater country Nigeria cannot provide water.

He stated that some of the ways in which lack of water or inadequate water supply can affect the poor include security of livelihoods, health and welfare especially the vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and PWDs, exposure to the harsh effects of climate change such as floods and droughts.

Although Nigeria is endowed with abundant water resources to support its needs, the sector has been grossly underdeveloped as highlighted by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme Report for the year 2006. According to the report, only 65 percent of the urban area and 30 percent of the rural area have access to improved drinking water. Prof. Oladipo concluded that with increasing population, meeting the demands of Vision 20: 2020 will be difficult to achieve.

Also considering the change in climactic conditions it is imperative that increased water management is critical to ensuring sustainable development which will benefit various sectors of the economy. Prof. Oladipo recommended promotion of conservative use of water at both federal and state levels. He further advised that early warning systems should be strengthened to harmonise flood protection strategies and infrastructure should be designed for sustenance based on ecological principles and adaptation to changing climate. He advocated the need for a policy reform on water and not forgetting the importance of research and development of new technologies to prepare a response better suited to the challenge of climate change.

Story by: Remy Serrano

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