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‘The nexus between ‘water and climate change’

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Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. It is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare and productivity of populations. It is central to the production and preservation of a host of benefits and services for people.

Water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change, serving as the crucial link between the climate system, human society and the environment.

The year’s edition is tagged: Water and Climate Change which is aimed to highlight how the two are inextricably linked and water’s role in the sustainable development agenda. That is, how adapting to the water effects of climate change will protect health and save lives, as well as using water more efficiently will reduce greenhouse gases from treatment systems.

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The UN system is saying “We cannot afford to wait; Everyone has a role to play” and therefore working closely with its Member States and other relevant stakeholders, collectively bringing its attention to the water-climate change nexus.

Meanwhile, amidst the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, experts have advised the Federal Government to urgently address the issue of sanitation and provision of hygienic water as they are vital to the wellbeing and survival of Nigeria as a nation.

According to the National President, Association of Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP), Michael Ale, “Government should re-declare a State of Emergency on Sanitation and release fund for massive water Borehole Projects across the nation to support the masses, since many depend on on-site off-grid water supply for their livelihood. Emergency Water Fund should be released under the State of Emergency declaration to support rural people that may be affected because of the current economic situation.”
In his submission, Praveen Kumar, Marketing Director, CWAY Group, “increased investment in healthcare is linked to economic growth, and consequently to reducing poverty. Nigeria is battling with a number of crushing health indicators including malaria, tuberculosis and infant and maternal mortality, all of which have a sweeping impact on productivity. 

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To end poverty, the governments at all levels must harness the demographic dividends through investment in health, education and livelihoods – especially for our young people. When countries’ age structures change favorably, meaning that they have more people of working age than dependents, they can see a boost to development, known as a demographic dividend, provided that they empower, educate and employ their young people.”

Speaking further on the issue, Ale stressed that “over the years the emphasis have been on WASH – an acronym for ‘Water Sanitation and Hygiene’: Here, the central role of water is demonstrated. The water and sanitation aspects have been the major campaign all over the world which is coming to play currently.”

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He noted that “recently, the Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO) demonstrated how people should wash their hands in a video that went viral. It is all about WATER. After using sanitizer or soap, one still needs water to complete the process and achieve the purpose of cleaning and removing germs. Interestingly, there is no face sanitizer or antiseptic yet, so everything depends on water.

We advise the Federal Government to follow what is being done in other climes – containment. China was able to achieve this successfully because the entire population has water in their homes. But the Nigerian situation is a pathetic one. How many Nigerians have access to pipe-borne water in their homes? The piping system here is very poor, just like electricity. Anyone in isolation needs two basic things to survive: water and energy. 

That is the correlation between water and COVID 19, water is essential. The apt theme for this year should have been “Water and Human Health”.

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