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FCT Water Board joins global action for Climate Change

2nd Dec, 2019 | By Victoria Anyakora | ||

Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing humanity, as extreme weather events present risks of death, health, and damage to relevant infrastructure. It is in cognisance of these that President Muhammadu Buhari, during his speech at the 74th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, USA, on September 24, 2019, reiterated strong action against Climate Change, in furtherance to the Paris agreement by all Heads of State during the COP 22 in 2016.

Climate Change is defined as a change in the climate's mean and variability over decades and more. This global phenomenon affects every sector of the economy- water, energy, health, finance, agriculture, and so on. Generally, Climate Change is caused by factors such as biotic processes and certain human activities (anthropogenic factors), with high emission of greenhouse gases, often referred to as global warming.

These obvious definitions are presented to arouse the interest of people, who often do not seem to understand Climate Change phenomena, and must key into the quest for derived benefits of all. The vulnerability of the water industry to the impacts of climate change is firmly established, impacting both water security and water quality. The water sector has a unique set of challenges ahead. This includes the ability to enhance its capacity to cope with the impacts of Climate Change and other human pressures on water systems while fostering greater resilience to extreme climate events.

Thus, the need to integrate Climate Change concern in its activities cannot be over-emphasised. Additionally, Climate Change impacts the ability of water utilities to meet potable water demand as evidenced in rising source (surface and ground water) variability, declining raw water quality combined with increased demands and increased competition between different water users (municipal, agriculture, industry, ecology, others) being experienced globally.

It is in recognition of the above that the collaboration of both national and international organizations such as the West African Network for capacity building (WA-Net) and Cap-Net (UNDP), in tackling the menace of Climate Change for resilience through capacity building was extended to various MDAs (FCT Water Board inclusive) and organized a course entitled 'Climate Resilience: Access To Water Supply and Sanitation' at the National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna on 15-20 September, 2019.

The aftermath of the training programme was lauded by General Manager, FCT Water Board (FCTWB), Engr. A. Nahuche, who acknowledged the recent challenges experienced by the board such as high turbidity of the raw water with attendant high cost in water treatment at the Usuma Dam Water Works, attributed to the torrential rainfall experienced during the last rainy season. This stimulated the creation of Climate Change Unit at the board. Dr. Victoria Anyakora, who now heads the Climate Change Unit of the board, also a participant of WA-Net and Cap-Net (UNDP) capacity building programme, presented her Action Plan to the management of the board on Tuesday, 5 November, 2019.

She re-awakened a renewed perception of the risks from Climate Change amongst the management team and explained that the objective of the Action Plan is to mainstream Climate Change concerns into the activities of the board in line with global best practices She further elucidated that Climate Change is a global phenomenon with localized effects peculiar to different regions necessitating localized action for resilience. She noted that the effect of Climate Change is being perceived in all the Departments and Units of the board, towards which her Action Plan is positioned to adopt the following steps:
Step 1: Identify and characterize potential Climate Change impacts in FCTWB.
Step 2: Assess infrastructure vulnerability to effects of Climate Change.
Step 3: Develop FCTWB climate resilience strategy.

Climate resilience strategies to be considered involve policy formulation and implementation, research, insurance, improved Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), rain water harvesting, advocacy/enlightenment campaign, capital funding, the use of Smart Systems, and so on. The expected economic benefits from the successful implementation of the Action Plan include actualizing the mandate of the board in production of potable water, and effective implementation of Government policies such as National Climate Action, Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), Local Content paradigm, backward integration policy, Sustainable Development Goals, Water and Food security, inter-agency collaboration for sustainable development.

In her response, Director, Administration and Finance (DAF), FCTWB, Princess Joy Okoro, reiterated the support of the management towards implementation of the Action Plan, noting that action against Climate Change effects must compete with other demands in areas of Administration, Finance, Training, Budget, Policy formulation and implementation for improved service delivery in the provision of potable water to FCT residents, in accordance with Government policies and programmes.

Residents of FCT are enjoined to know that Climate Change is real. Public perceptions of the risks involved should change with growing consensus and renewed zeal through attitudinal change for improved water security and sanitation in FCT. Water is life and every drop counts; therefore everyone is encouraged to be an agent of change by adopting the following good habits: Stop open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of both solid and liquid wastes into the environment to reduce blockage of drainages leading to flooding or wash-off by rain into the river which invariably lead to increased pollutants in river/dam, affecting raw water quality with attendant cost in water treatment.

Reduce water wastage by prompt response to leaks and plumbing issues. Stop executing domestic activities such as washing of plates, cars, laundry, brushing of teeth, etc. under a running water tap. Wetting of plants/flowers is better done in the evening. Report all pipe bursts to FCT Water Board through the following numbers: 07044384003, 07040157007, 07040157059, and 07040157011. It is time for collective action against the effects of Climate Change. The time is now. *Dr. Anyakora is Head, Climate Change & Special Duties Unit, FCT Water Board.

News Update

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