By Ann Ngbea
The United Nations (UN) has warned that two-third of the world’s population are likely to face water shortages by year 2025 which is just three years from now, hence the need to step up efforts in protecting ground water.
Benue State Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Dr Godwin Oyiwona, stated this in his office during a press briefing organized to mark this year’s World Water Day tagged “Ground Water.”
According to him, ground water is a vital resource that provides almost half of drinking water consumed around the world with about 40 percent used for irrigation agriculture, as well as one-third used for industrialization.
“Ground water is also an important part of climate change adaptation processes and is often a solution for people without access to safe water even as it sustains the ecosystem, as well as maintains the base flow of rivers and prevents land subsidence,” he added.
Oyiwona described this year’s theme of World Water Day as apt, saying it would put the spotlight on ground water towards enhancing knowledge exchange and collaboration, thereby increasing awareness on the importance of taking care of ground water.
“This year’s theme is an invitation for us to think about nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face today,” he said.
Speaking on the dangers of consuming unsafe water, Oyiwona said, “About 1.8 billion people use sources of water contaminated with feaces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.”
The commissioner noted that Benue State suffers a lot of water related challenges ranging from flooding to contamination of open water sources, which is usually compounded by the influx of herdsmen and their cows.
He, therefore, called for the exploration of ground water towards overcoming these challenges.
The World Water Day was set aside by the UN General Assembly in 1993 to be celebrated March 22 annually, offering the opportunity to create awareness on a range of water related issues.