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West Africa:Ecowas Harps On Water Resources MGT

Abuja — As climate change talks rounded off in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Water Resources Coordination Centre (WRCC) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has stressed the need for efficient water resources management in the sub-region.

To this end, the body has made a passionate appeal to member governments to adopt policies that would enhance Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

At the official opening of a three-day training workshop for journalists from Anglophone countries of the sub-region in Accra recently, Ghanaian Minister of Water Resources, Works & Housing, Mr. Albert Abongo, said although nations of the world seek economic advancement, this should not be sought at the detriment of water resources.

Represented by the Director (Water) from the ministry, Mr. Minta Aboagye, the minister added that the deteriorating water situation should not just be about talks, but about actions which can best be achieved through the IWRM.

He called on the workshop participants to work on creating more awareness about the situation in their countries so that the government can be influenced to take more decisive steps towards protecting water as a social and economic tool.

"We should attach the kind of importance to water which we attach to gold, oil, timber and other resources because now we know that it can be exhausted. Our constant pollution through industrialisation is proving dangerous because of the melting Arctic Ice, which is contributing to rising ocean levels;

"Years ago, people can just go to the stream and take water to drink. But now that is impossible because by our own actions we have polluted the same sources of water. Now we have to treat over and over against before it can be consumed", he added.

At the three day workshop, fifteen journalists from the five Anglophone countries in the sub-region; Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and the Gambia, received instructions on the water management situation in their countries.

The training sought to equip journalists with the information needed for effective reportage of the water situation.

The instructors, who were made up of environmentalists, called on the participants to alert their nations to the dangers of water mismanagement because it is not inexhaustible, according to general notion.

Speaking to THISDAY at the workshop, Professor Lekan Oyebande said Nigeria was working towards an IWRM with the soon to be established Water Resources Commission.

He added that most Nigerians have to be re-oriented in their approach to water usage. Women, he noted are the major players in water resources management, and he called on the Federal Government to ensure that they are included in decision taking on the country's water resources.
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