The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, has advised the Nigerian Committee on Large Dams (NICOLD) to adopt special considerations in the design of dams and reservoirs.
Ochekpe, who gave the advice at the 2014 NICOLD annual general meeting in Abuja, said that such considerations would respond to Nigeria’s peculiar climatic conditions.
The minister, who was represented by Mr Reginald Ikpeawujo, the Director of Dams in the ministry, added that the special considerations would guarantee the safety and environmental sustainability of dams in the country.
“In recent times, studies have shown that we need special designs, different methods of constructing dams according to different environmental conditions the world over. “Therefore, I challenge you to be more creative now than ever before by adopting special considerations in the design of dams and reservoirs in response to our climatic conditions.
“There is no overstressing the fact that dams contribute immensely to the nation’s economy through its multi-purpose uses in irrigated agriculture, domestic water supply, hydro power generation, reservoir, fisheries and tourism.” chekpe added that the meeting, which had the theme: “Dams Development and Flood Control in a Climate Changing Environment“ was apt in view of the need to address the negative effects of climate change on the environment globally. “Therefore, I believe that this topic will challenge the professionals to share current knowledge and experience on ways of enhancing the contributions of dams and reservoirs in mitigating the impact of climate change,” she said. Earlier, President of NICOLD, Mr Josephat Okoye, said that the theme of the meeting underscored the need to develop large dams to mitigate the impact of flooding or drought resulting from global warming.
Okoye said that Nigeria had recorded 11 dam failures out of the more than 200 dams existing in the country.
He urged the Federal Government to establish a code of practice for the design, development and operation of dams in the country.
“Dams break analyses should be carried out and emergency preparedness programmes developed for all major dams in the country,” Okoye said.
NICOLD was formed in 1973 as the Nigerian representative of the International Commission on Large Dams. It comprises professionals and corporate bodies in the dam development sector. (NAN)