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Cablegate: Water- a Cherished Commodity in Northern Nigeria

VZCZCXRO6422
PP RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHUJA #2330/01 3061141
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021141Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1367
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 8209
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0186
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002330

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR TBIO SENV PGOV SOCI NI

SUBJECT: WATER- A CHERISHED COMMODITY IN NORTHERN NIGERIA


1. (SBU) Summary. The Hadelia Jama'are River Basin Development
Authority (HJRBDA) covers over 45,000 square kilometers with the
potential to irrigate 212,000 hectares in Kano, Bauch and Jigawa
states. Agriculture is a big driver of Nigerian economic
performance representing nearly 41% of GDP and 88% of non-oil
government revenues, and employing nearly 70% of the labor force.
Funding, re-organization and possible privatization threaten
HJRBDA's existence and may hinder increased agricultural production.
Competing factors, such as feuding Nigerian states and neighboring
country demands for available water require that Nigeria implement a
comprehensive integrated water resources management plan. End
Summary.
.
Hadelia Jama'are River Basin Development Authority
--------------------------------------------- -----
.
2. (SBU) In early October, ESTH Officer met with Yahaya Kazaure,
Deputy Director for Operations and Maintenance of the HJRBDA in
Kano. The HJRBDA is one of ten river basin development authorities
created by the Government of Nigeria (GON) in 1976. It occupies an
area of 45,000 square kilometers with the ability to irrigate
212,000 hectares in Kano, Jigawa and Bauchi states. The Hadejia and
Jama'are Rivers have regional signifigance because they join with
Lake Chad, which borders Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

3. (SBU) At its inception, the HJRBDA began developing surface and
underground water resources for domestic and agricultural purposes,
constructing and rehabilitating access roads, improving seeds,
livestock and fisheries, providing loans at subsidized rates,
mobilizing farmers into self-help and cooperative groups, and
providing training and manpower development.
.
Kano River Success
------------------
.
5. (SBU) One of their most successful programs is the Kano River
Irrigation Project (KRIP), considered one of the largest in West
Africa. The KRIP is an entirely gravity fed water distribution
network that branches off into canals, tributaries and channels
finally reaching farmers at lower elevations for irrigation where
they are able to produce rice, maize, sorghum, millet wheat, tomato,
onions and cowpeas during the wet and dry seasons. The project is
fed by the Challawa Gorge Dam (930 million cubic meters) and the
Tiga Dam (1.9 billion cubic meters) also HJRBDA projects. Only
15,000 ha of the original 22,000 ha project is complete with the
remaining 7,000 ha under construction. The project provides
year-round employment for over 35,000 farmers and their families.
Records indicate farmers have produced over 150,000 metric tons of
food and cash crops, 100,000 metric tons of byproducts used for
livestock feed and other raw materials that helped create over 200
cottage industries. Phase 2 encompassing 40,000 ha has yet to
begin.
.
Bauchi
------
.
6. (SBU) In 1982 the HJRBDA started development in Bauchi of the
Kafin Zaki Dam (KZD) with a capacity of 2.7 billion cubic meters
surpassing KRIP. This was to be followed by the Jama'are Irrigation
Project to irrigate 120,000 ha. Within the area is the
Komadugu-Yobe River Basin that is a network of rivers and wetlands
in Bauchi, Jigawa and Yobe states. In 1987 the HJRBDA was
re-organized and its functions changed to undertake a comprehensive
development with an emphasis on erosion and flood control, watershed
management and reforestation. The KZD was initially halted due to
lack of funding and resumed in 1992. Demands for water still were
increasing, but the agreements to the downstream communities were
not finalized. Management became fragmented along with ill-defined
policies that resulted in conflicts between government agencies.
Tension escalated leading to opposition by the downstream states of
Yobe and Borno to the construction and the project was finally
stopped in 1993/4.

7. (SBU) Action has been taken to address some of these issues. The
Nigerian National Council on Water Resources established a
coordinating committee and the Lake Chad Basin Commission is
implementing the Komadugu-Yobe Integrated Management Project, a
Global Environment Fund (GEF) supported program for integrated
management of Lake Chad and the associated river systems.
.
Inherent Problems
-----------------
.
8. (SBU) Conservationists, farmers, fisheries and pastoralists are
competing for a limited supply of water. Some have blocked

ABUJA 00002330 002 OF 002


essential water courses causing flooding and depriving downstream
areas. Also contributing are inadequate funding, late release of
funds, inadequate enforcement of by-laws, aging irrigation
structures that need rehabilitation, changing government policies,
the silting of canals and the menacing typha grass. The typha grass
clogs channels, drains, rivers, and wetlands, hinders fishing, and
the functioning of irrigation systems. It also provides favorable
conditions for the spread of water-borne diseases such as malaria.
It does have some value, such as purification, but the nitrates in
the water help in multiplying the plants growth.
.
The Future of the HJRBDA and the Region
---------------------------------------
.
9. (SBU) HJRBDA officials believe the integrated rural development
schemes begun before the restructuring should be reintroduced. When
crop production declined they found that food production had the
greatest impact and helped in poverty alleviation. It assisted
farmers with badly needed irrigation water in the dry season and
supplementary irrigation water during the rainy season. The program
made notable achievements in crop rotation, livestock management,
and forestry and fishery development.

10. (SBU) The HJRBDA recommends the GON set up an appropriate legal,
political and institutional framework for sustainable irrigation
management that would enable farmers and stakeholders to participate
in formulating government policy. The GON should also provide price
incentives and low interest rates, with less stringent collateral
requirements. Whether the HJRBDA will proceed, is questionable
since it has been selected for privatization by the Bureau of Public
Enterprises.
.
Comment
-------
.
11. (SBU) The majority of the population in Northern Nigeria lives
in the rural areas and their main source of livelihood is
agriculture - mainly rain fed. In Nigeria agriculture contributes
as much as 41% of gross domestic product, 88 percent of the non-oil
foreign exchange and employing nearly 70% of the active labor force.
This shows a strong correlation between rainfall, available water
and economic growth rates.

12. (SBU) Rainfall is reportedly declining which has resulted in
reductions in the main watercourses. The drop in water availability
results in competition not just with the surrounding states but on a
regional basis. Competing factors, such as feuding Nigerian states
and neighboring country demands for available water require that
Nigeria implement a comprehensive integrated water resources
management plan. It is important that the plan include agreement,
coordination and implementation with Chad, Cameroon and Niger to be
successful. End Comment.

PIASCIK

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