FG to commence construction of 370 new dams

•Unveils 14-year water sector road map

THE Federal Government  has unfolded plans to commence construction of about 10 new dams in the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The construction of the projects, known as PROJECT 10/37, it said, would begin in 2017.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, stated this on Thursday, at a public presentation of the water road map themed: “Immediate and Long Term Strategies for the Water Sector 2016-2030,” organised by the Ministry of Water Resources in Abuja.

“We hope in the next few years to join hands with them in creating new dams, 10 dams in each state. We have a project coming up next year called PROJECT 10/37, we are looking at a minimum of 10 dams in each state, including the FCT,” he said.

He noted that  the agriculture sector was in dire need of water, even as he added that the country could no longer rely solely on rainfall to sustain its agriculture.

His words: “It is said that if the world is unfortunate to witness another world war, the cause of that war will be either food or water. Agriculture is in desperate need of water, particularly because we know that we can no longer continue to rely on rainfall to sustain our agriculture.

“We need the Ministry of Water Resources more desperately than the ministry needs itself, we need to irrigate the land; we need to keep the animals; we need water for other reasons. We are looking at a future where, whether it rains or it does not rain, we can continue to produce food, because if we don’t, as our population is blowing up to 450 million by 2050, we may face serious problems with food production.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government  has also unveiled  a 14-year water sector road map which is expected to promote development in the sector from  2016 to 2030.

This is coming nine months after the appointment and resumption of the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, to office.

The minister said the road map encompassed eight major projects which included: “the establishment of a policy and regulatory framework for the sector; organisation and manpower review of the ministry for enhanced service delivery; prioritisation and implementation of the ministry’s projects, development and implementation of a National Irrigation Development Programme (2016-2030) to boost food production.”

Others are: “The identification of dams with hydro electric power potential for development, development and implementation of a national water supply and sanitation programme to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.), development of a blueprint to strengthen the River Basin Development Authorities as enablers for food security and socio-economic development, identification of alternative sources for funding the delivery of water supply and sanitation through enhanced collaboration with development partners, state and local government authorities, communities and the private sector.”