The Department of Water Resources is currently under the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters. The Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters is the government policy institution responsible for fisheries and water resources. Its mission statement reads: ‘‘to monitor the weather and climate in order to harness their positive impacts and to provide lead-time information for protection against negative impacts; develop and maintain rational and judicious exploitation and use of the national surface and ground water resources and fish products, guaranteeing a healthy, decent and sustainable standard of living for all, now and posterity’’.
Department of Water Resources
Legal Status and Mandate
Enacted on the 22nd of February 1979, the National Water Resources Council Act, among other things established the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and mandated to ensure water resources assessment, monitoring and management. The functions and responsibilities of DWR include:
- preparing an inventory of water resources of the nation,
- coordinate the planning of technical requirements of the water resources services,
- preparing plans for investigating the rational management, use, control and protection of water resources,
- collecting, archiving, analysing and disseminating meteorological and hydrological data and products for various human uses,
- serving as the official voice in issuing weather warnings for public safety as well as the national authority and official source of information and policy advice on the present and future state of the atmosphere and other aspects of national weather and climate, in support of development,
- exploring the existence, location and behaviour of underground water and to ascertain the quantity of such underground water and executing and enforcing laws and regulations affecting water. These activities have positive implications for natural resource conservation. The Act also encourages the sustainable use of water resources.
The Department of Water Resources comprises five technical units (Divisions) in addition to Administration and Public Relations, namely: Meteorology, Hydrology, Rural Water Supply, Water Quality Monitoring and Control, and Communications and Data Analysis.
The Department is the lead government institution for the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and also the focal point of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Regional Programme on AGRHYMET (Agriculture, Hydrology and Meteorology) under the Interstate Committee for the Control of Drought in the Sahel (CILSS).
The role of DWR in water resources development and management has a direct effect on overall natural resource management efforts. The following major activities related to water resources monitoring are carried out by the Hydrology Division:
- Discharge measurement
- Water level measurement
- Salinity flow measurement
- Groundwater assessment
The Meteorology Division’s weather and climate observation and monitoring activities provide useful strategic planning information to the government and potentially valuable planning tool to farmers and other actors in the primary sector in their efforts to minimize the effects of climate stresses. The mandate of meteorology is, namely:
- Data collection, quality control, archiving into database and processing;
- Publication and reporting of climate, agrometeorological data and information;
- Provision of various weather information, warnings and forecasts to civil aviation;
- Presentation of weather bulletins over TV;
- Provision and evaluation of seasonal forecast;
- Agro-climatic and climate-related hazard monitoring during the rainy season.
The Rural Water Supply is responsible for providing water to rural communities through the regulation of well diggers and borehole drillers, whilst the Water Quality Division is responsible for monitoring the quality of both surface and ground water. The Communication and Data Analysis Division is responsible for the upkeep of data generation, transmission, data processing and archiving equipment.