The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently concluded a four-day regional training in Abuja, Nigeria on Eco-hydrology as a tool for integrated water resources management.
The Government of Liberia was represented at the regional training by Daoda Socrates Carlon, Assistant Manager for Environmental Social Impacts Assessment (ESIA) at the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), and Anthony Kullie from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, respectively.
The training, which ran from 26th to 29th July 2021 was intended to strengthen the eco-hydrological approach as a tool for enhancing water quality in West Africa.
The forum highlighted the role of eco-hydrology in integrated water resources management (IWRM); especially in the contexts of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 (“clean water and sanitation for all”), Mr. Carlon said.
According to him, the training provided insights and introduced participants to basic concepts of eco-hydrology principles, approaches and applications. To achieve this Liberia and Sierra Leone proposed a transboundary project called Using Ecohydrology for the Restoration of Forest Landscape and Water Quality of the Riparian zones of the Mano River Basin.
“It also provided knowledge on eco-hydrology implementation as an innovative tool for the treatment of wastewater nourishment of river basins to enhance ecosystem services.” Keeping both terrestrial and coastal wetlands in tight, for example, Mr. Carlon explained.
The training also provided a platform for sharing knowledge and information on eco-hydrology activities at the sub-national, national, and transboundary levels; thus contributing to national capacities in achieving SDG 6.
Speaking at the start of the training, the UNESCO Director in the Dakar Office, Dr. Sanga Dimitri reminded participants of the role of water as an important life support system.
Dr. Dimitri drew the attention of participants to the persistent threats on water bodies, arising from overuse, contamination, population pressure, and climate change impacts.
Mrs. Adele proxy for Dr. Dimitri.
She added that the broadening applications of Eco-hydrology will be indispensable to address these threats.
She expressed the readiness of UNESCO to provide technical support to the implementation of eco-hydrology activities in Africa.
The Director-General of the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI), Professor Emmanuel Adanu welcomed participants and informed them that eco-hydrology has been included in the curriculum of academic programs of the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI) of Nigeria and recommended that other countries do the same.
Goodwill messages were received from the Secretary General of the Nigeria National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Olagunju Idowu Latif and the President of the Nigeria National Committee for UNESCO-IHP, Professor O. D. Jimoh.
The National Program Officer for Science Sector, UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja, Dr. Enang Moma, presented an overview of the workshop outlining the purpose and objectives of the workshop.
The Minister of Water Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, ably represented by the Director of River Basin Operations and Inspectorate in the Ministry, John Ochigbo delivered the opening speech.
He commended UNESCO and RC-IRBM for organizing the workshop and expressed hope that the workshop will further provide considerable insight on how eco-hydrology can be used as a practical tool for the implementation of IWRM to address water quality and environmental challenges.
At the end of the training, a field visit was made to Jabi Lake, a proposed Ecohydrology site in Nigeria. Participants also received certificates in Ecohydrology. The excursion allowed participants the opportunity to have a feel of real-life scenarios of an Eco-hydrology research demonstration site.