World Meteorological Day: NiMet DG Harps on Need to Address Water Challenge Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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Director General/CEO of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi has restated the urgent need to tackle water shortage challenges by improving forecasting, monitoring and management of water supplies and tackling the problem of “too much, too little or too polluted water”.

The NiMet Director General observed that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 3 billion people worldwide lack basic hand washing facilities.

NiMet DG Prof MashiProfessor Mashi, who spoke in commemoration of this year’s World Meteorological Day noted that teh “growing demand for water increases the need for energy-intensive water pumping, transportation, and treatment, and has contributed to the degradation of critical water-dependent carbon sinks such as peatlands. Some climate change mitigation measures, such as the expanded use of biofuels, are exacerbating water scarcity.”

2020 Celebration of World Meteorological Day was titled: ‘Climate and Water – Count every drop, every drop Counts’.

The NiMET boss in his message to commemorate the annual event explained that “the 2020 World Water Day and World Meteorological Day are therefore, both dedicated to Climate and Water.

“By uniting the two international observances, which fall on 22nd and 23rd March respectively, the aim is to raise the profile of water in the climate debate.

“The World Meteorological Day is being celebrated across the world by more than 190 WMO Member States/Countries on the 23rd of March annually using a particular chosen theme of the year in order to commemorate the coming into force on 23rd March, 1950 of the Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organization.

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“It showcases the essential contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological services to the safety and wellbeing of society and is celebrated with activities around the world. One of the underlying message of 2020 WMD is that we can’t manage what we don’t monitor and measure. Water data collection and sharing underpin hydrological monitoring and forecasting and flood and drought early warning services.

“Fresh water is vital for life. On average, a human being cannot survive more than three days without it. Water is essential for the production of our food, virtually all our goods and services and for the environment. The world including Nigeria, faces increasing challenges poses by water stress, floods and droughts and lack of access to clean supplies.

“There is an urgent need to improve forecasting, monitoring and management of water supplies and to tackle the problem of too much, too little or too polluted water. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 3 billion people worldwide lack basic hand washing facilities.

“The growing demand for water increases the need for energy-intensive water pumping, transportation, and treatment, and has contributed to the degradation of critical water-dependent carbon sinks such as peatlands. Some climate change mitigation measures, such as the expanded use of biofuels, are exacerbating water scarcity.

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“Therefore, climate and water data underpin the management of surface-water supplies and disaster risk reduction. These include calculations of the frequency and duration of heavy rainfall, the probable maximum precipitation and flood forecasting. One of the greatest impacts of climate change is water, either making it too little or sometimes too much for human survival and comfort.

“This hence, pose serious threat to sustainable development and security. Unfortunately, there is much more coordinated international information and response on climate and water.

“Over the years, NiMet has reliably established from available meteorological data in Nigeria, that there is increasing air temperatures since about 1920s, in addition to recurring droughts since 1960s.

“There are clear indications that other climate variables especially rainfall (both magnitude and distribution), atmospheric circulation patterns are changing, while extreme weather events and incidences of climate-related disasters are increasing, as the memories of 2012, 2016, 2017 , 2018 as well as 2019 flood episodes are still fresh in our minds”, Prof Mashi said.

According to him, “this confirms the projections of the IPCC Working Group-I predict that warming trend in this part of the world will become 1½ times more than the global trend.

“To reduce these impacts of climate variability and change, NiMet produces and issue out Flood and Drought Bulletin as well as Seasonal Rainfall Prediction as well as Agromet Bulletin as part of the Agency’s meteorological Early Warning System, containing rainfall and temperature outlook for the year, as well as the possible socio-economic implications of the projected weather patterns.

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“These bulletins are designed to provide relevant information for planning and execution of projects and programs in various sectors of the economy, especially those that are sensitive to weather: Water Resources Management, Agriculture, air transportation, infrastructure construction, telecommunication, are particularly sensitive to weather variability. The Products are being further updated regularly to give more focused weather pattern during the season.

“NiMet is ever committed to providing timely, accurate and reliable weather and climate information in order to guide policy and decision making as well provide weather and climate advisories to our stakeholders across all sectors of national endeavors that contribute to the development of our dear nation. We do this in fulfilment of the mandates of the Agency as contained in its Establishment Act of 2003.

“Finally, water is one of the most precious commodities of the 21st century, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency is therefore central to efforts to count every drop because every drop of water counts in Nigeria.

“We therefore need to measure and monitor water well because it is only if we do the two that we can be able to manage water very well. We simply cannot manage what we don’t know much”, he said.

 

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