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GeoJournal

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 151–154 | Cite as

Implications of wetlands degradation for water resources management: Lessons from Nigeria

  • N. O. Uluocha
  • I. C. Okeke
Article

Abstract

Nigeria is a country richly endowed with both coastal and inland wetlands, which altogether cover about 3% of the country's land surface. These wetlands are of ecological, economic, socio-cultural, scientific and recreational significance. Nevertheless, Nigeria's wetland resources are currently being threatened by certain anthropogenic and biogeophysical factors. Notable among such factors are population pressure, rapid rate of urbanization, mining, oil and industrial waste pollution, uncontrolled tilling for crop production, over-grazing, logging, unprecedented land reclamation, construction of dams, transportation routes and other physical infrastructure, marine and coastal erosion, subsidence, ocean water intrusion, invasion by alien floral and faunal species, sand storm, desertification, and droughts. The alarming rate at which the country's wetlands are vanishing obviously portends some dire consequences. In particular, wetlands destruction is affecting water supply and water resources management in various parts of the country. Wetlands perform some vitally important hydrological functions in the country. For instance, apart from being quite instrumental to flood protection, wetlands equally maintain stream flow during the dry season in the semi-arid region of northern Nigeria. Importantly, they also help in regulating surface water quality and volume, as well as in replenishing and sustaining groundwater. There is no gainsaying, therefore, that the degradation of wetland ecosystems in Nigeria increases the task of water resources management in the country. Thus, the country's wetland resources need to be properly identified and mapped. Moreover, the right legislation and policy framework has to be put in place and enforced to safeguard the remaining wetlands from the ongoing wanton destruction.

flood control water management wetlands 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. O. Uluocha
    • 1
  • I. C. Okeke
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of LagosLagosNigeria (
  2. 2.Conek International Ltd.LagosNigeria

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