Senate moves to regulate Nigeria’s water resources sector

The Senate has passed for second reading a bill that would regulate the framework of the water resources sector in the country.

This would provide equitable and sustainable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface water and ground water resources and for related matters.

The bill was read for the first time on the 3rd of May 2017.

Addressing his colleagues on the importance of the bill, the leader of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe) on Tuesday stated that water is one of the crucial gifts that nature bequeaths mankind which must be protected.

Therefore, the national water resources bill would be needed to regulate the use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface and ground water resources affecting more than one state on items 64 of the exclusive legislative list in part one of the second schedule in the constitution and vested in the federal government.

Lawan said: “It gives us the freedom to use water but guides against private ownership of water and requires that water resources be used by all.

“It would trigger change that will fill water resources of the country to encourage public private participation. It seeks to harmonize the several agencies that regulate water sector, thus making its legal framework friendlier.”

According to him, the bill when passed into law, would harmonise the national council of water resources, the Nigerian water resources regulatory commission, river base development authorities, national water institute into one single regime.

He continued: “It seeks to ensure that the water resources are well managed in ways that would allow citizens have access to water and sanitation, meet with basic human needs of the present and future generation, protecting the water environment for sustainability, reducing poverty, providing for existing customary uses of water, facilitating social development and improved public health.

“It creates efficient regulatory institutions that would strengthen and promote transparency and safe water.”

The bill was then referred to water resources committee to report back in four weeks.

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