Whisky is for drinking; water is for fighting over—Mark Twain
Almost half of humanity will face water scarcity by 2030 and strategists from Israel to Central Asia prepare for strife—Chris Arsenault
Unequal power relations within states and conflicts between ethnic groups and social classes will be the greatest source of social tensions rising from deprivation…Water too often is treated as a commodity, as an instrument with which one population group can suppress another…. Water scarcity is an issue exacerbated by demographic pressures, climate change and pollution—Ignacio Saiz
THE purpose of the quotations overleaf is to demonstrate that water stress affects many parts of the world and to examine, in the event of the return of the 2018 Water Resources Management Bill to the National Assembly, the striking difference between the attitude of the federal government of Nigeria to sustainable water supply in the country, in relation to how many other countries respond to greater water scarcity or stress than Nigeria may have. As we will argue later, Australia, Israel, United Arab Emirate and many other advanced countries think about applying technology to their water problems while Nigeria prefers to deploy legislation to address what its leaders see as problem of water scarcity in parts of the country.
Nigeria with its new bill on ownership and management of surface and underground water has started to act as if it is a victim of water stress, by seeking to take away control of water resources away from the states. The Executive Bill on federal take-over of management of all sources of water—ocean, rivers and streams with their banks, and underground water across Nigeria–suggests an effort to remake Nigeria into an over-centralized unitary state: “As the public trustee of the nation’s water resources the Federal Government, acting through the Minister and the institutions created in this Act or pursuant to this Act, shall ensure that the water resources of the nation are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner, for the benefit of all persons and in accordance with its Constitutional mandate.”
Another clause reads: “States may make provisions for the management, use and control of water sources occurring solely within the boundaries of the State but shall be guided by the policy and principles of the Federal Government in relation to Integrated Water Resources Management, and this Act.” These two clauses have emptied sub-national units of any significance by threatening the fundamental character of the country. Rather than a law for passing by the national assembly, the intent of the presidential bill to own all forms of water—actual and virtual—degrades the federating units and reduces them to appendages to the central government. State representatives in the national assembly do not have the power to surrender water that…