The Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP), a partner of the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP), recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) to address the critical situation of groundwater in the country. The ultimate aim of the memorandum was to support the Call to Action on Global Groundwater Sustainability, presently signed by 1,127 groundwater experts and professionals in 94 countries, and to work towards achieving action item 3 (groundwater governance and management).
The MoU between AWDROP (also known as the Nigeria Borehole Master Drillers Association Executive Officers) and MoWR was signed on December 12, 2019, in Abuja, Nigeria. This was during a courtesy visit by Mr. Michael Ale (President AWDROP) to Eng. Suleiman Hussein Adamu (Honorable Minister, Federal Ministry of Water Resources). The aim of the visit was to discuss issues pertaining to groundwater data management, and regulation and licensing of water well drilling rig operators in Nigeria, with a view to preventing unprofessional practices.
Highlighting the challenges encountered by AWDROP, Mr. Ale stated that there is lack of statistical data on boreholes drilled on a daily basis in Nigeria, with dire impacts on water security and a loss in local employment opportunities due to indiscriminate drilling in the country.
“According to estimates by the United Nations, 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide, and 319 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone are without access to reliable drinking water sources. The figures are alarming and urgent action is required,” said Ale.
Ale also highlighted that relevant agencies should be proactive and sanctions should be imposed on offenders, in accordance with the (i) state of emergency declared in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector by the president last year; and (ii) Executive Order to End Open Defecation by 2025 signed on November 19, 2019. “It is no longer business as usual,” said Ale.
While receiving the delegation from AWDROP, the Honorable Minister, Eng. Suleiman Hussein Adamu, confirmed his unalloyed support to address the current situation. He requested AWDROP not to relent in their fight to secure water resources, especially groundwater, and instructed Eng. Benson Ajisegiri, Director of Water Supply, to set up a committee to guide drilling operations in Nigeria. Finally, he emphasized the need for the quick passage of the National Water Resources Bill to enhance socioeconomic development of the country.
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