It is my great pleasure to welcome our esteemed Council members and other participants to the 24th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Water Resources. We recall that the last Council meeting was held at Abuja, FCT from May 29th – June 2nd, 2016. You will also recall that during the 23rd Meeting, we took a decision to hold the 24th Council Meeting in Akure, Ondo State. We are therefore very grateful to the Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) for accepting to host us and welcoming us to the Sun Shine State and to the alluring city of Akure.
1.1 Distinguished Council members, Ladies and Gentlemen; it is our obligation to always lay emphasis on the obvious fact that Water is one of the world’s most valuable resource. It is a basic necessity of life for both plants and animals. Water is life and central to human survival, socio-economic development and overall environmental sustainability. The demand for water in national development is astronomically increasing due to rapid population growth and urbanization. Mankind cannot survive without water as the human body is made up of about 70% water. Water, as we all know is very important towards attainment of national food security (through irrigated agriculture), Hydro-power generation, domestic and industrial uses. The availability of a reliable and clean supply of water is one of the most important determinants of our health. According to WHO, diseases related to drinking-water contamination represent a major burden on human health and the interventions to improve the quality of drinking-water, provide significant benefits to health. It has also been estimated that about 60% of all the diseases in developing countries are related to unsafe water supply and inadequate sanitation. The provision of water supply systems in Nigeria is thus, important and urgent, requiring the use of existing, emerging and innovative technologies that are also sustainable. I must therefore emphasize that the present administration places high premium on the provision of water and sanitation to Nigerians in an affordable and sustainable manner, towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number six i.e to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.
1.2 Accelerated growing population and migration to urban areas in developing countries have resulted in a vital need for the establishment of protected source of water and modern, well-maintained drinking-water treatment plants to distribute potable water to residents. Developing countries also suffer from economic problems and are often struggling with insufficient infrastructure and low water supply and sanitation coverage, particularly in rapid growing urban slum settlements, with significant consequences, especially on public health.
1.3. In view of the foregoing, this 24th Meeting of the National Council on Water Resources is premised on the theme ”Revitalizing Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Nigeria”. In line with the above, our focal point of deliberations in this 24th Meeting should be on a well articulated strategic plan for urban water and sanitation improvement in our cities for economic growth and the mechanism for evolving appropriate institutional framework towards strengthening urban water supply and sanitation in Nigeria.
1.4. At this juncture, Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, permit me to highlight some of the efforts the Ministry has been making to improve the water sector of our country:

Update on Ministry’s Activities
2.0 Water Supply
2.1. Access Generally
At the close of the Millennium Development Goal in 2015, access to water supply was at 69% from the 40% that it was in 1990. Further disaggregation of the data revealed that rural water supply access increased from 15% in 1990 to 57% in 2015 while that of urban water supply marginally increased from 76% to 81%. However, what is worrisome is the percentage of our people that are getting their water supply through piped networks that has declined from 31% in 1990 to less than 7% in 2015. This means that majority of the remaining 93% are drawing water from sources that cannot guarantee wholesomeness.

2.2 Performance of state water Utilities
Our deduction from the international Bench marking Network (ibnet) Report prepared by the World Bank on our Water Agencies shows that nearly all the state are under performing when compared to similar Agencies around the world, especially on the African Continent. They are all moving round in a Cycle of Stagnation. Their services are generally poor which make the customers to be dissatisfied and thus unwilling to pay their water bills. This results in low revenue base of the Agencies and weak finances to carry out operation and maintenance. This lack of maintenance of the water assets makes them to deteriorate thus leading to the poor services. At the foundation of the stagnation cycle are: lack of enabling environment and adequate financial investment, state Governments, weak institutions and inadequate staff capacities of the Agencies. Thus, the required autonomy and means of accountability for performances are totally absent. We cannot continue to go this way. Thus, the trend must be reversed and the time to do it is now!

2.3 The National Urban Water Reform.
To address the problem of urban water sector and Water Agencies, our Ministry initiated a Programme of reform in 2004 tagged “The National Urban Water Sector Reform Project”. The project has entered the third phase with eight states of Kaduna, Ogun, Enugu, Lagos, Cross River, Rivers, Ekiti and Bauchi as major beneficiaries from the World Bank total loan package of $770m. Nine other States of Ondo, Kano, Jigawa, Gombe, Benue, Plateau. Anambra, Abia & Bayelsa are being prepared for follow up investment. The World Bank credits have been complemented by the French Development Agency (AFD) with a total credit of $111.1m for Ogun, Lagos and Cross River States. Another AFD credit of about $200m, is currently being prepared for Ondo, Plateau, Kano and Enugu states. Furthermore, the African Development Bank is investing a total of $381M in Taraba, Oyo, Kaduna and Rivers States, while Islamic Development Bank is making investments of $121m in Kaduna and Osun states. Thus, over $1.5b, credits have been mobilized for the urban water and sanitation sector through the reform program alone aside some grants that were provided to support the efforts by the European Union, USAID and JICA.

The reform project objectives are to improve access to piped water in the project states as well as make the Water Agencies financially and commercially viable to deliver sustainable water services.

However, most of the Project Assessment Reports I have read from the Funding Agencies rate the projects outcome either moderately unsatisfactory or out rightly unsatisfactory. This is a cause for concern! Why is it that what works in other climes cannot work in our situation?. It shows that our problems are more attitudinal than money. We need to look into this with a view to reversing it immediately!

2.4 The PEWASH Initiative.
To address the problem of Rural Water Supply and public sanitation, the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) was launched on 7th November, 2016 as a national collaborative instrument to mobilize the efforts of the Federal Government, States, LGAs, Development Partners, the Private Sector, NGOs, CSOs, Philanthropists and Communities toward the same goal, objectives and targets of achieving 0% open defecation and 100% access to Rural Water Supply by 2030.

As you are aware, the PEWASH is a 15-year program that is divided into three phases. The phase 1, being the period 2016- 2018, is the preparation phase that is devoted to advocacy, mobilization and take off. The phase ll will span 2019 to 2025 for substantial infrastructural development while the phase lll to be implemented from 2026 to 2030 will consolidate the program implementation. I am happy to inform this gathering that about thirteen state Governments have submitted Expression of Interest to partner with the Ministry on the PEWASH program. We have also taken the program to the domain of the private sector with a positive indication of their willingness to support the initiative. We are now set to take off with the available resources under the 2017 Budget and I assure you that we will continue to build on these efforts until we achieve the SDG objectives.

2.5. Federal Government and States Collaboration
The much planned collaborative efforts among the Federating States and the Federal Government in the past do not seem to be working. From the visits I have made to numerous States, I have seen colossal waste of resources through such efforts. Many water supply facilities constructed by Federal Government that are supposed to be complemented with construction of transmission and/or distribution networks have been left unattended to in many States. This is another cause for concern as it is either that the States are not serious with provisions of potable water to their people or the model simply needs to be reworked.
3.0 Water Quality, Sanitation & Hygiene

3.1 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector is crucial to life as it is the basis of securing the good health of the populace. The contribution of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in preventive health and national socio-economic development cannot be overemphasized. Thus far, the following have been achieved by the Ministry:
Submitted a proposal for the inclusion of Scientific Officer Cadre in the Local Government Scheme of Service for effective delivery of WASH service at the local government level to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In collaboration with UNICEF, carried out the expanded WASHCOM training in eleven states to build the capacity of the WASH committee members in the communities.
With the support of UNICEF carried out Hand Washing and Hygiene Promotion in five states of the Federation.
Carried out Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) training in Port-Harcourt involving 6 States- Rivers, AKwa-Ibom, Osun, Lagos, Cross River and Delta States.
Developed the National Cholera Plan for the prevention of cholera and other water related disease in collaboration with UNICEF.
Carried out orientation Programme on Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)..
Developed a Guideline and Manual for training on Community Water Safety Plan in collaboration with UNICEF.
Participated in the global high level meeting held in Washington DC in April, 2017.

As a way forward, we hereby call on States that have been trained and sensitized to step down the training to the LGAs.

4.0 Dams & Reservoir Operations
4.1 The Kashimbilla multipurpose dam project with a height of 35m and reservoir capacity of over 500million cubic meters (mcm) was this year impounded and completed ready for commissioning. The project has a 60,000m3/day capacity water treatment plan to supply potable water to Takum town and Jato-Aka town in Taraba and Benue States and their adjoining communities. The water supply scheme will guarantee healthy leaving conditions of the benefitting communities. Kashimbilla multipurpose dam will also supply water for 40MW of electricity, irrigation, fishery and tourism. The irrigation scheme of 2000 hectares of farmland will boost employment generation and food security when completed.
4.2 One of the major challenges is that many of the States are not keying into the completed dam projects constructed by the Federal Government. It is expected that when the Federal Government constructs dams to impound bulk water, the States should key in to construct treatment plants and conveyances pipeline to distribute the water to the end users. We are optimistic that today’s meeting would proffer workable solutions to this problem in order to derive maximum benefits from these projects.

5.0 Irrigation & Food Security
5.1 Within the framework of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the present administration, the Ministry has intensified efforts at positioning irrigated agriculture to the fore as the fulcrum for sustainable economic growth, poverty alleviation and job creation. The approved Roadmap of the Ministry targets improving food production in the country and ensuring food security with the development of additional 500,000 hectares of land under irrigation by the year 2030. The first phase of this plan is attainment of 100,000 hectares of land under irrigation by the year 2020.
5.2 Towards meeting this target, plans have been concluded to complete 29Nos viable on-going irrigation projects as well as bring on board new projects.
5.3 Currently, feasibility studies are on-going for development of the vast potentials available in the Benue River Valley. The overall long term outcome of the studies will be optimization of the land and water resources potentials of the study area with respect to water development for irrigation, while enhancing socio-economic activities in the project area and protecting the environment.
5.4 In line with the set targets for the sector, the Ministry in late 2016 launched the Graduate/Youth Empowerment Scheme, an agricultural scheme for young graduates. The Graduate/Youth Empowerment Scheme has been launched in seven locations nationwide including Kampe Irrigation Project (Kogi State); Integrated Farming Project (Abeokuta, Ogun State); Talata Mafara (Zamfara State); Kadawa Integrated Center (Kano State); Ogoja Irrigation Scheme (Cross River State); Agbala Integrated Farm Project (Imo State); Doma Dam Irrigation Project (Nasarawa State). This is a programme that mirrors the Songhai Integrated Farm Model and it is to be extended to the 109 Senatorial Districts of the Country and is being piloted by the River Basin Development Authorities.
5.5 As part of the Ministry’s effort to boost food production, a memorandum of understanding was signed with M/S Powerchina International Group Limited for the overall planning and study of Nigeria Irrigation and Hydro-power resources.
6.0 Policy Development and Regulatory Framework
The water sector is being guided by a number of policies, strategies and laws. To this end, the Ministry has during this period finalised work on a number of policy documents namely National Water Resources Policy, National Irrigation and Drainage Policy and the National Water Resources Bill. The Two policy documents including the bill were approved by the Federal Executive Council in September, 2016.

6.1 The National Water Resources Policy, which is the apex policy for the sector is designed to provide appropriate operational guide and direction of activities in the water sector. The Policy document adopted current global trend approaches which include: Principle of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM); Need to mainstream the issues of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the development of water infrastructure and service delivery; Gender Mainstreaming in the water sector; and Climate Change in the management of water resources.
6.2 The National Water Resources Bill was presented to the National Assembly for passage into law. The passage of the bill into law by an act of the National Assembly will create a stable and attractive environment for Investors and Development Partners. The Bill, when passed into Law shall be one of the major achievements of the current Administration, as it will provide the much required legal and regulatory framework for the Water Sector to Optimally contribute to national development. The Bill will soon be presented for Public Hearing.
7.0 Integrated Water Resources Commission (Water Use and License Regulations)

7.1 The Commission is charged with the primary mandate of making and implementing regulations for the control and management of water abstraction and discharges into shared water courses.

7.2 The National Water Resources Bill which seeks to streamline and harmonize the responsibilities and functions of various water and related agencies is expected to provide necessary legal framework for the effective operation of the Commission. As part of the process to further deepen water resources regulatory regime, the Federal Executive Council has approved the Water Use and License Regulations, 2016 which has been gazetted and has become operational nationwide.
7.3 Notable Projects for implementation in the 2017 Budget include the following: The Commission has commenced the process for the provision of Institutional Repository Data Base or Digital Archives for Water Resources Agencies in Nigeria as directed by the Ministry. We have also commenced the project for the Development of Nigeria Water Foot Print, for the purpose of developing scientific based and economic based Water Tariff for effective Water Governance in Nigeria; and The finalization and completion of the Formulation of Catchment Management Plans (CMP) for the North and Western Littoral hydrological areas
8.0 Adaptation to Climate Change
8.1 Effects of Climate Change on water resources management, and extreme weather events are becoming a more frequent environmental challenge due to heavier and higher intensity rainfalls. Other factors like poor watershed management, rapid urbanization, and blockage of drainage channels are worsening the incidences and impacts.

8.2 In order to properly mainstream climate change issues into the sector planning and management, we have commenced series of training programmes at the River Basin level towards strengthening information dissemination at the grassroot level on effects of climate change on water resources development and management. Four RBDAs namely: Benin Owena, Anambra-Imo, Upper Niger and Lower Benue have benefitted from this initiative. The training will be extended to other RBDAs in 2017. We also regularly give Press Releases and interact with stakeholders on flood management strategies across the country.

8.3 Furthermore, we have commenced the publication of Climate Change Information Guide (CCIG) for each Hydrological Areas in the country. Presently, we have produced CCIG for Hydrological Areas One and Six (Niger North and the Western Littoral). We are to produce that of Eastern Littoral (Hydrological Area VII) by the last quarter of 2017.

9.0 Public Private Partnership

9.1 Considering the huge water infrastructure deficit that requires substantial funding to meet the demands of our growing population, the Ministry has developed a PPP framework and prepared Outline Business case on some key water projects with view to leverage financing from the private sector and funding from the development partners.

10.0 National Water Resources Institute (NWRI)

10.1 The national water resources institute is the foremost institution for capacity building and research in the water resources sector. The institute over the years has built the capacity of engineers, scientist, technologists and technicians manning the urban and rural water supply and sanitation sectors through regular training programs leading to the award of ND and HND in water resources engineering technology as well as short courses in various areas of water resources

10.2. The institute also conducts youth empowerment training programmes in drilling technology, house hold water management (plumbing) and rig fabrication. The training is aimed at empowering unemployed youths with skills that will make them self-employed and also improve access to water supply and sanitation in the country. The training on household water management is specially designed to arrest leakages due to poorly installed and maintained distribution systems which are common features in our urban water supply distribution networks. A total of 1,070 participants were trained in 2016/2017 under programmes on youth empowerment, short courses and regular programmes of the NWRI.

11.0 Gender And Human Rights

11.1. The Ministry through the Gender and Human Rights Unit is developing the implementation guideline on gender for the national water resources policy and strategy. To this end, the 1st review workshop for the critique of 1st draft implementation guideline with relevant MDAs Development partners , NGOs/CSOs and gender focal officers, is being worked out.

12.0 Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency(NIHSA)

12.1. The Ministry through the Agency has designed projects / programmes to enhance hydrological and hydrogeological data for effective management of the nation’s water resources.
12.2 Some of the key programmes amongst others are as follows:
Regular publication of the Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) Prediction and Sensitization Workshops. The annual flood outlook is targeted at providing necessary information to Nigerians, especially those living in flood prone areas towards better preparedness in mitigation of any flood, in order to reduce the risk and losses often associated with flooding
Undertaking Surface Water and Ground Water Assessment Programmes, having established a network of Hydro-meteorological and Hydro-geological stations on designated rivers and catchment areas across the country.
Maintenance and rehabilitation of fourteen (14)nos. Niger-Hycos data collection platform stations (DCPs) nationwide.
Established and upgraded the GIS Unit responsible for building Operational Database Management System configured in ArcGIS to warehouse data.
Establishment of a National Hydrological Modeling Centre is now in progress

13.0 A call to Action
13.1 Before I conclude this address, let me once again draw our attention to the theme of this meeting which is “Revitalizing Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Nigeria”. To the ordinary Nigeria, all the effort we are making and the successes achieved in the water sector are meaningless if he is not guaranteed a 24 hour supply of potable water through an efficient source and distribution network. We cannot pretend all is well when credible data suggest that we have fared terribly and that coverage is declining at an exponential rate.
13.2 State Governments must reflect seriously on this dismal situation and begin to invest more in water supply infrastructure and operations. They must not continue to apply quick fixes or short terms solutions aimed at achieving immediate electoral benefits. Rather the states must make effort to finance proper studies and masterplans and follow up with an effective implementation plan accompanied by making capital investment in the medium to long term. Needless to say, those contracted to implement the studies and actual construction works must be professionally and technically competent. The penchant for proliferating unsuitable borehole schemes in our urban settings must give way to proper pipe borne municipal water supply systems except where the raw water resources are unavailable.
13.3 A situation whereby not a single urban community in today’s Nigeria can boast of 100% pipe borne water supply is unacceptable in the 21st century. We intend to share available data with all the states and it is my hope that your awful standing on access to water and sanitation shall serve as a wake-up call and ginger everybody to accelerate and concentrate action to address the situation.
14.0 Conclusion
14.1 Your Excellency, Honourable Commissioners, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this address will not be complete without me expressing unalloyed appreciation to our Development Partners; the World Bank (WB), the European Union(EU) the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), USAID, UNICEF, UNESCO the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) the Department for International Development (DFID), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Bank (DFB), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), AMCOW, WaterAid, etc, for their sustained assistance towards the funding of water resources projects and programmes in our country Nigeria. Our exceptional and immense thanks also extend to our distinguished and honourable members of the Nigerian National Assembly.
14.2 Permit me once again, on behalf of all participants to express our gratitude to His Excellency, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, the Executive Governor of Ondo State for his magnanimity in not only accepting to host this event, but also for the genial hospitality and huge resources deployed to ensure the success of this meeting.
14.3. I thank you all for your attention.

17th August, 2017