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(a) Is there a national water policy in Nigeria?

YES but still a draft as its bill has not been successfully reviewed and
passed by the legislature

(b) If YES when was the national water policy promulgated/established?


The national water policy was published in July 2004. However ever since
it was first published till date, it is yet to become legalised / operational
as the bill is yet to be passed by the legislature

(c) Is there an amendment to this water policy?


There has been calls by various fora for a review of the draft national
water policy to meet up with modern developments in the water
resources management sector however there is no amendment yet on
the existing draft National water policy of July 2004.

(d) What are the thematic areas of the national water policy?

The thematic areas of the existing national water policy are as follows:
Creation of a clear and coherent regulation for water resources
management in Nigeria
Provide clear definitions of the functions and relationships of the
various sector institutions involved in water resources
management in Nigeria
Coordination and provision of framework for solution to the
problem of dwindling funds.
Reliable and adequate data for planning and projections.
Provision of framework for decentralization of water resources
management in order to boost efficiency, performance and
Provision of framework for autonomy of water supply agencies.
Re-definition of water as an economic good.
Creation of public awareness about water conservation and
Provision of stable and adequate power supply.
Accountability in water resources management
Technical and financial capacity building to efficiently manage
water delivery systems.
Promoting human resource development for efficient and
sustainable water resources management

(e) Attach a copy of the National water policy



Copy attached as Attachment 1.



This national water policy 2004 as drafted is divided into three sections with the first section
setting out the Nigerian context and the process in which the Policy is being produced, and
outlines the issues to which it is responding. It covers the social, political, economic and
development context in Nigeria, as well as relevant international developments around water
policy and management approaches.
The second section deals specifically with the new national Water Policy in Nigeria, setting out
the broad policy vision, addressing specific aspects of water management as well as indicating the
institutional arrangements that will be necessary to implement the policy.
Finally, the way forward for the development of new legislation and implementation of the new
policy is outlined.


Basis for formulation of the Policy:

In formulating the policy, a critical and deep review of international trends and the problems
confronting Nigeria with regard to water management was carried out with workshops and
review fora as well as consideration of other international initiatives, thoughts, policies and
practices which can be recast to meet the specific conditions of Nigeria.
Of key mention is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), NEPAD Objectives and the
resolutions of various conferences, conventions and meetings which were closely reviewed and
guided the basis for the formulation of the water resources policy some which are listed below:
the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972);
Ramsar Convention, 1975.
the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade launch (Mar del Plata, 1977);
Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes,
Helsinki, 1992.
the World Conference on Water and the Environment (Dublin, 1992);
the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, UNCED Earth Summit Agenda 21 (Rio de Janeiro, 1992);
The International Convention to Combat Desertification, INCD, adopted 1994
Development Assistance Committee meeting on Water Resource Management, OECD/DAC,
the Drinking Water and Environmental Sanitation Conference on the Implementation of
Agenda 21 (Noordwijk, Meeting of Ministers, 1994);

the First World Water Forum of the World Water Council (Marrakesh, 1997).
and the UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International
Watercourses, 1998. (UN Convention)

Review of the National water policy

The national water policy as drafted is a well thought out and comprehensive document with
some key bold moves, chief of which are the focus of providing a clear definition of the functions
and relationships of the various sector institutions involved in water resources management in
Nigeria as well as decentralization of water resources management in order to boost efficiency,
performance and sustainability including pursuit of autonomy of water supply agencies
The document also provides a clear focus on meeting the needs for services of the portion of the
population which suffers from insufficient access to water resources and water supply. It
highlighted the fact that people had to be kept at the centre of the concern for sustainable
development and that water management and development should be conducted on a
participatory basis with decision making occurring at the lowest appropriate level.
Attention was also beamed on policy statements aimed at protecting and sustaining the water
resources to guarantee access to it for everyone and forever. The document also provided a
policy direction towards sustainable management of water as a limited natural resource, which
implies that not everyone can have unlimited access to water resources. It has to be shared.
A closer review of the document shows that great emphasis was placed on the management of
demand for water as an economic good to make sure that water use is as efficient as possible,
both in terms of the quantities of water used and the impacts on water quality without
compromising environmental requirements.
It should be noted that previous and current government programs in the water sector have been
centred on water resources development, while proper management and conservation of the
resource was not given adequate attention. The previous approach to water resources
development and management involved treating water as a public social good. It is centralized
and entails top-down, command and control mechanisms. There have been numerous activities
in the area of water resources development in dam construction, urban water supply, irrigation
and power generation. Each of these sub-sectors has developed water resources without
adequate consultation with other stakeholders which has resulted in under-utilization of the
facilities provided.
In order to overcome this deficits this Water Policy provides a new way of management and
control of water resources in the vision of optimising the use of Nigerias water resources at all
times, for present generations to live in harmony with environmental requirements, without
compromising the existence of the future generations. In the light of this vision the new
management of water resources represents the challenge of carefully balancing the water uses
and water protection through a regulatory system of river basin based management and
regulated allocations of water resources as the limits of self-regulation should be recognised.


Water is too valuable a commodity for its management to be handed over solely to its users and
there remains a vital role for government monitoring and enforcement. However, the importance
of eradicating poverty and therefore to enhance an improve public health through an optimal use

of water resources for development remains the main driving force for the Government of
The national water law with the adoption of this Federal Water Policy for Nigeria, a new process
of consultation will begin in support of the development of a new National Water Law and
regulations for its implementation. Participation will include communities through water users,
academic institutions, scientific councils, and Government at national, state, and local levels. The
National Water Law will take into account the different physical, social and economic
circumstances that exist in different areas of the country. It will provide a flexible framework
which enables appropriate arrangements to be introduced which recognise these differences
while also taking into account the principle of equality before the law and other legislation or
The prevention of periodical occurrence of water crisis shall be addressed though this policy. The
first is the importance of achieving the right balance between stakeholders based management
and enforcement by, for example, developing subsidy and incentive systems rather than focusing
on penalties such as legal action for permit contraventions and the denial of permits.
The new approach to water management outlined in this Policy is crucial for the long-term
economic development of Nigeria. It considers water as an instrument of social justice, of
economic development and of peace. It will ensure growth without compromising the
requirements of the environment and future generations.
The policies outlined in the document, and the legislation that arises from it, is therefore vital for
all Nigerians. It will provide the national Government with the tools required to fulfil its role as
custodian of Nigerias precious and limited water resources



(a) Do we have river basin authorities in Nigeria

Yes we have river basin development authorities in Nigeria.

(b) List the river basin authorities in Nigeria and cite the edicts that established them.
The concept of river basin development in Nigeria was borne out of necessity
following the Sahelian drought of the early 1970s - between 1972 and 1974, which
shocked the nation into the awareness of the need for a coordinated and integrated
approach to water management. Consequently and in recognition of the need for a
comprehensive water resources development strategy that transcends state
boundaries, the river basin development concept was accepted and applied.
The list of the River basin authorities starts with the first 2nos. river basins namely
Sokoto-Rima River basin development authority and Chad Basin Development
Authority which were initially established by Decree Nos. 32 and 33 of 14 August

1973 until 1976 when a total of ten (10nos) new river basin development authorities
inclusive of the Sokoto-Rima and Chad Basin development authorities were
established by Decree 25. However the Niger Delta River basin authority was
established later in August 1982 followed the splitting of the River Niger basin into
Upper and Lower Niger basin development authority to complete 12nos. river basin
authorities as shown below:

Chad Basin Development Authority

Sokoto-Rima Basin Development Authority
Hadejia Jamare Basin Development Authority
Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority
Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority
Cross River Basin Development Authority
Established by Decree 25
Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority
in 1976
Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority
River Niger Basin Development Authority
Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority
Niger Delta Basin Development Authority
----- Established in 1982
Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority

(c) How many Current River Basin Authorities do we have in Nigeria?


There are currently 12nos. River Basin development authorities in


(d) What are the responsibilities of these river basin authorities



The responsibilities of the river basin authorities include the following

key functions:
To undertake comprehensive development of both surface and underground
water resources for multipurpose use
To provide water from reservoirs and lakes under the control of the Authority
for irrigation purposes to farmer and recognised associations as well as for
urban water supply authority concerned;
To control pollution in rivers lakes, lagoons and creeks in the Authoritys area
in accordance with nationally laid standards;
To resettle persons affected by the works and schemes specified under special
resettlement schemes;
To develop fishes and improve navigation on the rivers, lakes, reservoirs
lagoons and creeks in the Authoritys area;
To undertake the mechanical clearing and cultivation of crops and livestock,
To undertake large-scale multiplication of improved seeds, livestock and tree
seedlings for distribution to farmers and for afforestation schemes;
To process crops, livestock products and fish produce by farmers in the
authoritys area in partnership with state agencies and any other person;
To assist the states and local governments in the implementation of rural
development works such as construction of small dams, provision of power for

rural electrification schemes, establishment of grazing reserves, training of

staff etc. in the Authoritys areas

(e) Choose a river basin authority out of the earlier list and make its organogram

The organogram for Lower Niger basin development authority is

herewith attached as Fig. 2.1