The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has alerted that two-third of the world’s population could face water shortages by 2050.
This is even as the federal government warned that the demand for water will exceed 40 percent in the country by end of the decade.
FAO lamented that global water availability and quality are deteriorating, calling for immediate action to halt the development.
FAO representative at a press briefing to mark the World Water Day 2023 organised by United Nations in Abuja. Fred Kafeero, raised the alarm in his message at the event.
He said: “Over 700 million people face high and critical water stress and over 90 per cent of natural disasters are water related. The situation is
worsening. Global water availability and quality are deteriorating. Climate change is intensifying. Competition between sectors and countries is increasing.
“By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population could face water shortages.”
He noted that agriculture currently accounts for 72 per cent of freshwater withdrawals, insisting that on current trends, an additional 35 per cent in water resources will be needed by 2050 to meet growing demand for food, fibre and feed.
Kafeero said: “At the same time, demand for other uses is increasing. These numbers clearly don’t add up. This is hugely worrying for efforts to end hunger and poverty, because there can be no food and agriculture, and the livelihoods it supports, without clean and sufficient water – for irrigation of crops, for livestock, and for the many species that live in aquatic ecosystems.
“Agriculture – including forestry, fisheries and aquaculture – also plays a crucial role in the management of surface water, ground water recharge and even circulation of atmospheric water, thanks to forests.
“If we are to protect the future of food, and meet the Sustainable Development Goals, the needs and role of agriculture must be supported.
“The key is to act now with integrated water resource management approaches to produce more food, fibre, feed and biofuel with less water, more sustainably,” he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu said the demand for water will exceed 40% by end of the decade.
The Minister, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Agnes Aneke, said “drop by drop, this precious lifeblood is being poisoned by polusion with water demand expected to exceed supply by 40% by decade end.
He said the objective of the global event was to galvanize action towards active response to water crisis and seek out a way to take measures to improve access to potable water supply while achieving the target sets out in the sustainable developing goal six – water and sanitation for all by the year 2020.
He said: “Let me reiterate the commitment of this administration to continue collaborating with development partners and donors in engaging with a range of stakeholders and supporting government’s strategic approach to proper execution of water policies in the country.”
He reaffirmed his commitment to assembling key players for discussion and development of proposed suggestions to direct the implementation of programmes, policies, and measures aimed at enhancing the water sector.
He lamented that the world is off track on Sustainable Development Goals 6, adding that dysfunction throughout the water cycle is undermining progress on all major global issues from health to industry, disasters, and peace.
He stated that the day symbolizes a call for action on the part of each and everyone in protecting and using water sustainably for the present and future generations.
On her part, Jane Bevan, chief WASH Nigeria, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said an estimated 78 million children in Nigeria were suffering from poor water access at the moment.
She said: “At least, a third of all of the children in Nigeria do not have access to water at home and do not have access to basic sanitation.
“So we need to do more not less than the children of Nigeria we owe it to them to really come together, invest more in water and do our best to reach everybody.”