A Nigerian Soil and Water Resources Management expert based in Germany has called for urgent and pragmatic approach to manage soil and water to avoid looming crisis. Dr. Kenedy Doro who works at the In Situ Geotechnologies Department, Fugro Germany, Land GmbH, Germany made the call while delivering the 11th Annual Lecture of the School of Sciences at the Federal University of Technology, Akure. The event held at the Theodore Idibiye Francis Auditorium on Thursday, 11th October, 2018. He spoke on the topic Data Driven Policies: A Challenge for Academics and Case for Soil and Water Resources in Nigeria.
Assessing the situation of Soil and Water Management in Nigeria, he said “with the increasing threats of soil and water resources in Nigeria, the urgent need for pragmatic steps both by government and the populace to protect these resources and better manage them to avoid a looming crisis cannot be over emphasized”.
Speaking on the effectiveness of data in soil and water management, Doro said “with the current level of advancement in software, instrumentations, computational power and techniques, the possibility of acquiring and processing large amount of data in virtually most aspects of human endeavor has greatly increased. For the case of soil and water resources, applying such data driven policy strategy will require a scientific data base containing the appropriate qualitative and quantitative data sets describing the state of, as well as the physical and bio-geochemical processes occurring in soil and water systems”.
Comparing Nigeria and Germany vis-à-vis soil and water resources management, the Don said “the geology and other factors unique to Nigeria must be critically evaluated in formulating and implementing measures to address the challenges in the country. It is worth noting that the challenge with access to clean water and soil as well as the need to protect them is not unique to the country. One of the ways through which surface and groundwater is protected in Nigeria as in most developed countries is through the establishment of water protection zones. Such protection zones usually consist of zone 1, 2 and 3A & B with increasing distance from the water body or drinking water source”.
According to Doro the delineation of water protection zones must follow strict and well outlined guidelines. He said a detailed experimental and qualitative analysis of flow and transport parameters including hydraulic conductivity, porosity, velocities are prerequisites for delineating protecting zones. He recommended the delineation of 50 days line as the boundary between zones 2 and 3A. He said “this implies a residence time of 50 days before water from outside the boundary will arrive at the protected source. This also allows for protection against pathogens through the self-cleansing ability of a scientific base, are major factor responsible for an effective implementation of the protection zone is its clear communication within the citizenry”.
Dr. Doro who appreciated the contributions of the academic community to soil and water resources management in Nigeria admonished it to do more. “The volume of research carried out till date on soil and water resources in Nigeria is acknowledged. However, there is a further challenge in scientists working on soil, water and related research areas to channel currently available research resources towards experimental and numerical studies that would help provide the needed date base for a data driven policy approach. While much more is desired from government, it is worth noting that acquiring the right data sets and making them available to the community through innovative communicative route could stimulate compliance and may invariably pressurize government to embrace a data driven approach in its policy formulation approach” he added.
In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, who chaired the event said the title of the lecture is apt and appropriate for the development of national policy on water management. According to him, good quality data are essential for governments and institutions to accurately plan, fund and evaluate development activities. He described the Guest Lecturer as highly skilled in conducting need driven research to generate data that are converted into information that are easy to understand by the users.
The host and Dean, School of Sciences, Professor Kolade Koriko said the annual lecture series of the School has become a household event designed to shape and proffer solution to the Nigerian societal needs. He said the school will not relent in attracting and inviting experts to deliver impactful lectures to address the needs of the society.
He also described Dr. Doro as a technocrat who knows his onions in his field of study. Professor Koriko commended the University Management under the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape for the regular support the School gets. He also commended the Local Organising Committee of the lecture led by Professor Oluwafemi Ajele for doing a great job in organizing the lecture.