The Economic Development of Nigeria: Report of a Mission Organized by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development at the Request of the Governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom

By World Bank | Go to book overview

TECHNICAL REPORT 12 WATER RESOURCES

I INTRODUCTION

The water resources of Nigeria, though ample, are not evenly distributed among the different sections of the country and are subject to great seasonal variation. There are very few water control schemes in existence and progress of water control is impeded by a lack of knowledge of the characteristics of Nigerian water flow and evaporation. Improved control of water resources can be of vital importance to several sectors of the Nigerian economy. Agricultural production in some parts of the North could be expanded by irrigation, which could extend the growing season to permit cultivation of new crops or to enable two crops to be grown in one year. Flood control could make farming possible in fertile areas now subject to annual devastation. The Niger and Benue rivers are important transport routes, but their level in the dry season precludes year-round navigation over much of their courses. Improved navigability, especially of the Benue, would open an avenue of cheap transportation for the growing output of the northeast.1 There may also be hydroelectric sites on Nigerian rivers. Provision of year-round rural water supplies, for human and animal consumption, would help to spread mixed farming while expansion of both rural and urban water supplies would make a notable contribution to public health.

However, introduction of many of these improvements will proceed slowly until the knowledge of water resources is much more advanced than it is at present. The mission therefore considers it important that studies of water resources be carried out as quickly as possible.

This report deals first with the problem of river survey. It then discusses prospects for flood control, irrigation and drainage in the North and for reclamation of mangrove swamps in the South.

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1
See Technical Report No. 18.

-329-

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