Some 11 solar-powered water schemes have been commissioned in Borno and Yobe States in northeast Nigeria under efforts by Italian multinational energy firm, Eni, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to address water scarcity for communities affected and displaced by the political conflicts in the region.
The water schemes, comprising boreholes, solar power systems, treatment facilities and fetching points, were developed as part of the ‘Access to Water’ initiative which was established by Eni – through its subsidiaries Nigerian Agip Exploration and Agip Energy & Natural Resources -, the NNPC and FAO to alleviate hunger and poverty while addressing climate action and clean water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goals.
“The handover of the water schemes is a cornerstone in the collaboration with FAO in the region that is contributing to improve the life of the communities,” stated Alberto Piatti, Head of Sustainable Development, Eni, adding that, “With the completion of the project, thousands of people will have access to clean water, which is a concrete step to enhance the overall living conditions of the inhabitants, providing them a safe source also for other uses, such as agriculture, to boost concrete social development.”
The 11 projects were completed between 2018 and 2020 to provide water for domestic consumption as well as for irrigation purposes for residents in the areas of Borno and Yobe. However, up until now, the official handover of the projects was delayed due to the ongoing political conflicts in the region.
“The solar boreholes and FAO’s larger investment in irrigation and water management is a signal of our commitment to support the government of Nigeria achieve its development goals. In the northeast, the availability of safe drinking water and water for agriculture is central to growth and livelihood recovery,” stated Fred Kafeero, FAO representative in Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States.
Since 2018, Eni and FAO have delivered 22 water well projects as part of the ‘Access to Water’ initiative, with five of them in the Abuja federal capital territory and 17 in northeast Nigeria, improving access to clean water and sanitation for some 67,000 people. The first project to be commissioned for the internally displaced persons under the ‘Access to Water’ facility was in Waru in November 2018.