Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority: TOUCHING LIVES THROUGH PROVISION OF WATER
By: Adeboye Ado
…..Commissions multi million naira water projects in Edo, Delta, Ondo & Ekiti States
In order to undertake all-round development of both surface and underground water resources for multipurpose use with particular emphasis on the provision of potable water, irrigation infrastructure, control of floods and erosion as well as water- shed management, the Federal Government set up 12 River Basin Development Authorities in the country.
One of such water agencies includes “Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority” (BORBDA) was established by the Federal Government with an ACT of 1986 which repealed the 1979 river basins development authorities. The Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority covers three states ; Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and one senatorial district in Delta state, with an estimated population of about 10.3 million people.
According to available facts, the agency is mandated to carry out some functions such undertake comprehensive development of both surface and underground water resources for multipurpose use with particular emphasis on the provision of irrigation infrastructure and the control of floods and erosion and water- shed management.
Also construction, operation and maintaining dams, dykes, polders, wells, boreholes, irrigation and drainage systems, and other works necessary for the achievement of the Authority’s functions and hand over all lands to be cultivated under the irrigation scheme to the farmers
Supply water from the Authority’s completed storage schemes to all users for a fee to be determined by the Authority concerned, with the approval of the Minister in charge of water resources.
Other responsibilities are to Construct, operate and maintain infrastructural services such as roads and bridges linking project sites: provided that such infrastructural services are included and form an integral part of the list of approved projects, as well as to develop and keep up-to-date a comprehensive water resources master plan identifying all water resources requirements in the Authority’s area of operation, through adequate collection and collation of water resources, water use, socio-economic and environmental data of the River Basin.
As part of steps to fulfill one of the mandates, BORBDA which covers four states has a responsibility like other River Basin Development Authorities to carry out several policies of the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, with special emphases on how to meet water needs of the people and promoting agriculture; thus turning the country into a net producer of food for both domestic and export markets.
On what is expected of the agency in the mandate states, the Managing Director of BORBDA, Engr. Saliu Osifuemhe Ahmed, said, “BORBDA as an agency of the Federal Government is poised more than ever to ensure that Government policies are translated into actionable agricultural programs. In so doing, the Authority is positioned to meet the new challenges for a balanced integrated planning and sustainable agricultural development.
As part of its planning mandate, BORBDA has recently embarked on the preparation of a 4 year Strategic Plan which identifies its development needs whilst also providing a roadmap for optimal utilization of resources with a view to improving livelihoods through food security. The plan is holistic and it is geared towards the promotion of sustainable agriculture using environmentally friendly practices and efficient natural resource management.”
“For the next four years, the Authority’s core functions will focus on those projects that create multiplier effect on outcomes to achieve faster growth and address the development challenges particularly in food security, employment, poverty reduction, environmental protection, water supply and improving the revenue generating status of BORBDA.”
THE 2022 WORLD WATER DAY AND BORBDA IMPACTFUL OUTING IN 200 COMMUNITIES
According to global report, Clean freshwater is an essential ingredient for a healthy human life, but 1.1 billion people lack access to water and 2.7 billion experience water scarcity at least one month a year. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may be facing water shortages.
Also there is a popular saying that, “water is life”. This is exactly what the Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORBDA) delivered and actualised for over 200 communities through its commissioned water projects in Edo, Ondo, Ekiti states and part of Delta State.
As nations across the globe recently marked the 2022 World Water Day, the Agency commissioned some of the water projects on Tuesday 22nd March, 2022 in commemoration of the water day which was themed, “Ground Waters: Making the Invisible Visible”.
Many of the affected communities within the catchment States which were mired in shortage of potable water have been relieved by the Water Authority, as dearth of water was a perennial problem for beleaguered residents before the Federal Government’s intervention through BORBDA recently.
For instance, in Ondo state, BORBDA relieved residents with the provision solar powered borehole in Oke- Odo in Owo, while it also commissioned the rehabilitation of Ilado 1 water scheme in Akure.
As the commissioning of the water projects reverberated virtually in all the catchment states, the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority in line with its mandate had provided water in over 200 hundred communities in the aforementioned states.
Aside, the Managing Director of the water Authority, Engr. Saliu Osifuemhe Ahmed, affirmed that the core mandate of BORBDA was to undertake the comprehensive development of both surface and underground water resources for multipurpose use.
Ahmed, who spoke during his address on the occasion of this year’s world water day and during commissioning of the water projects, explained that ground water is a vital resources that provide almost half of all drinking water worldwide, noting that groundwater in Nigeria is widely used for domestic, agricultural and industrial supplies.
He said, “Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority has followed its mandate which is to provide water for human needs across our catchment areas. We have constructed dams, dykes, wells, boreholes, irrigation and drainage system and other works necessary for the achievements of the Authority’s function”
“The population estimate of our catchment area is about 10m people and the Authority has continuously made fruitful efforts to make sure ground water is available to the populace”
“BORDA has provided potable water in about 200 communities serving a population of over one million persons. These boreholes are each fitted with generator or solar powered pumps, an overhead storage between 6-9 meters and stand pipes to take the water closer to homes”.
Reeling out the beneficiaries of the commissioned projects, Ahmed said, “in Edo State we constructed toilet and water scheme in Iviolelo at Erah Community, while we constructed water scheme at Ukhun, Esan West Local Government Area.
“Construction of water scheme at Umunede community and borehole construction at Akumazi in Delta State”
“Rehabilitation of water scheme at Moshood road, Ikere Ekiti. While we worked in SUBEB Nursery and Primary School, Are Quarters, Ikere Ekiti,” Engr Ahmed said.
There is no doubt that the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority under the headship of the Managing Director, Engr. Saliu Osifuemhe Ahmed is living up to its mandate in the area of water provision in line with vision of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.