Engineering Earth pp 1617-1631 | Cite as

Megadams for Irrigation in Nigeria: Nature, Dimensions, and Geographies of Impacts

  • Adamu I. Tanko


Following Nigeria’s Independence in October 1960 and recurring (early) droughts, especially in the north, governments at different levels were lured by the World Bank and other funding agencies to adopt mega-dam option for large- and medium-scales irrigation projects (i.e. covering land areas of between 10,000 and 62,000 ha; 24,710–153,200 acres). Commitments of Nigerian leaders led to prompt and wide development that in one basin there were over 20 earth-filled dams, each with plans for the development of irrigation projects. This paper reviews assessments in the early 1980 s which indicated favorable/mild physical and human impacts that point to changing morphologies of river courses and increased agricultural productions, leading to prosperous farmers and proliferations of many agro-allied factories. In recent times, however, deeper assessments show that, apart from the unfavorable changing soil and water qualities, the paper reviews waterlogging and aquatic weed infestations in the river basins as causes of lower agricultural productivities. Typha grass in the waterlogged irrigation sites has taken over a disproportionate size of the formerly cultivable lands causing perennial floods. Other impacts reported recently include, marginalization of downstream communities, land appropriation, capitalization and speculation in the irrigation areas. These developments, in the face of the existing Land Use Act (1979), exacerbate crises of landlessness, peasantry and incessant conflicts, especially between the farming and pastoral communities. The crises have recently attracted the concerns by governments and few development agents. Through collaborative interventions, the problems are beginning to be identified and verified and mitigation measures are being planned.


River Basin Integrate Water Resource Management River Basin Management Irrigation Project Basement Complex Rock 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyBayero UniversityKanoNigeria

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