The extreme importance of water for public health, human, animal, plant and material existence is not appreciated, Mismanagement and disuse of water resources is rampant. The groundwater resource is a significant element in the Hydrologic which is a naturally-occurring continuous movements of elements of water under the intervention of solar energy in form of runoff into surface water bodies, partially-saturated soil zone and into the permanently-saturated groundwater zone
This year’s Conference by the Nigerian Association of Hydrogeologist (NAH), Owerri -2015 titled: “Sustainable Groundwater Development and Water Wells Management in Nigeria” is a unique one. It will hold from November 1st to 6th 2015 and will mark the beginning of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-6); and it will attract surface water and groundwater resources experts from within and outside Nigeria. The main objectives of the scientific gathering encompass the evaluation and analyses of what surface water and groundwater resources stand for in Nigeria’s total environment in terms of existence and sources, use, disuse and management for successful water resources programmes for sustainable development and management in Nigeria to last for the next 50 years or more. Attitudinal behaviors of Nigerians towards affairs of water resources include taking issues on problems of water and its resources for granted. Water is not easily available/accessible to the greatest population and number of the people who regard water as a natural phenomenon that will never get finished up in space and time. The extreme importance of water for public health, human, animal, plant and material existence is not appreciated, Mismanagement and disuse of water resources is rampant. The groundwater resource is a significant element in the Hydrologic which is a naturally-occurring continuous movements of elements of water under the intervention of solar energy in form of runoff into surface water bodies, partially-saturated soil zone and into the permanently-saturated groundwater zone. Water in humans and animals are also lost from the body mass through sweating, urination and evaporation. Water in plants may be lost also through evapotranspiration. These life-propelling processes occur in air masses and complex geosystems that require critical and careful scientific, engineering and technological analyses Surface water resources include water from rainfall, in ponds, lakes, streams, swamps, rivers and wetlands. Rainfall may occur in one place more than in another area. Rainwater can be harvested into surface or underground plastic containers or metal or earthen tanks for domestic and sanitation purposes. Rainwater of good quality can adequately serve smaller holder households in rural, peri-urban and urban communities.
Protection and harnessing of the water resources of wetlands is very important for the sustainability of the hydrologic environment. People ignorantly and ruthlessly encroach upon wetlands and damage them. Impoundment of rainwater and runoff during rainy seasons are of positive consequences in flood, soil and gully erosion control, environmental management and sustainability. Floods, surface water reservoirs and dams play major roles in groundwater recharge and environmental protection. Effects of climate change are obvious and easily-observable on various aspects of surface water and groundwater resources in terms of water loss and incessant droughts. Shallow watertable and deep-seated confined aquifers have enormous volumes of water that are more reliable and sustainable than surface waters in terms of quantity and quality, stability and longevity Watertable aquifers are subsurface porous and permeable zones of permanent water saturation. They may be mostly shallow and of small thickness with less volumes of water when compared to deeper confined aquifers Most hand dug wells and shallow boreholes exploit water in watertable aquifers. Shallow wells and boreholes are easily polluted and damaged because many water prospectors lack of knowledge or expertise. Confined aquifers: are porous and permeable permanent zones of water saturation below the ground surface embedded between two impermeable geologic units. They are usually thick and extensive with large storage of water.
Hand-dug wells supply water for various purposes, namely, for domestic uses for drinking, hygiene and sanitation and for fadama and mgbamili irrigation agriculture. Commercial sales of water from hand-dug wells, no matter the quality and adverse effects and implications, provide lucrative business for all manners of people without the expertise. Local people or itinerant Hausas-Fulanis are known diggers of hand-dug wells. They may execute the digging project to frightening depths of up to 40m or more. Water is drawn from the well by men, women, children etc. with buckets tied to a slinging rope while frequent accidents and loss of life of diggers occur. Such wells may become easily-polluted or collapse after a short life span. Despite all the problems, the digging and ownership of hand-dug or shallow wells still abound nationwide. In order to sustain the life of water-wells and boreholes, proper drilling into shallow and deep aquifers are encouraged.
Nigerians have been flagrantly-flouting surface water and groundwater laws and have been defaulting in most of them. Activities of some water seekers and exploiters have destroyed water projects, causing colossal financial losses to the economy. Nigerian water laws and regulations are flouted. Dams are not maintained; are silted up or allowed to become weakened and eventually collapse; and they cause extensive waterloss through massive evaporation. Springs, lakes and streams get shallower yearly or dry up as exemplified by the case of Lake Chad. These are confounded by incessant droughts and effects of climate change that adversely-affect the environment. Flood disasters have become more frequent and destructive during the rainy season. Rainwater harvesting can provide water for domestic and small-scale water use in homes and commercial ventures. The water quality should be monitored and appropriate water treatment provided where necessary. They could be channelled to recharge aquifers. Groundwater quantity and quality are comparatively more reliable than those of surface waters. Large amounts of groundwater are stored in aquifers for many years with more resident times and security than surface waters. Groundwater is not easily-affected by the vagaries of inclement weather and anthropogenic effects. Though costs of exploring and exploiting groundwater may be high, this can be handled cost-effectively by professionals in Hydrogeology.
The factors militating against provision of potable water and their consequences in Nigeria include lack of standards and enforcement of laws, rules and regulations in drilling of public and private boreholes and wells; inadequate and poor funding of water projects; unplanned demographic changes; overconcentration and excessive pumping of borehole network; infrastructural decay of water mains/lines, destructive flood and erosion problems; pollution and contamination from domestic and industrial waste-sources etc. Excessive pore water pressures, lack of continuous and regional data bank on Hydrogeological information and corruption that is the chief of all groundwater problems such as poor or no supervision, monitoring, lack of law enforcement etc. These factors all severely-endanger prospects of sustaining lives of water-wells and boreholes. For long-term sustainability, proper execution of boreholes and management and involvement of professionals as Hydrogeologists and Engineering Geologists are a sine qua non. Proper education, training, professionalism and coordination in fields of exploration, exploitation and management of groundwater resources. The present methods of education, training, research, professionalism and coordination in management of groundwater resources by s0me professionals are not acceptable and robust enough as they ought to be. The existing laws, rules, regulations and policies must be upheld and enforced by non-corrupt officials. Well-Funded Training, Studies and research in water resources paramount. More financial support from the Federal and State governments, agencies, and individuals for training of professionals in water resources management is advised. Hydrogeological, Hydrogeophysical and Hydro-Engineering studies, environmental pollution and contamination of water resources are issues that require serious funding for studies and modern research from both internal and external funding agencies.
– Boniface C E Egboka