Climate Variability and Basin Management: A Threat to and from Wetlands of Komadugu Yobe Basin, North Eastern Nigeria
Keywords:Climate, Variability, Threats, Wetlands, Kumadugu, Basin, Management and hydrological processes
The paper describes the effects of climate variability and non-adequate management of wetlands of Komadugu Yobe Basin (KYB) and the strategic significance of the sustainability of the KYB. Basically about 50% of the 84,000Km2, which make up the basin, is comprised of wetlands. These wetlands, the most notable of which is the Hadejia- Nguru Wetlands, support a wide range of ecological, economic and hydrological processes, which not only directly support the livelihoods of over seven million people, but also host biodiversity of global significance that has qualified one of them to serve as Nigeriaâ€™s premier Ramsar site. The paper goes to describe threats to the integrity of the wetlands resulting from climatic variability, dam operations, population pressure, bad management practices, break down of traditional control mechanism, obsolete and ambiguous legislation, institutional failures, and conflicting resources use policies. The most outstanding impact of the threats on the wetlands is the creation of a favourable condition for invasion by Typha grasses, accentuated by variations in rainfall which now occupies over 200 Km2 of prime farm lands, and fishing ground. Typha has also contributed to the blockage of several channels. The paper further describes the impact of the present induced condition of the wetlands on the economic, ecological, and hydrological integrity of the KBY. The most outstanding of these impacts include a ten-fold increase in poverty levels in the areas of the Hadejia- Nguru Wetlands, zero contribution of the Hadejia tributary to the Yobe River, and heightened levels of conflict over resources. Data on climatic and the socio-cultural and economic background of respondents were collected from six randomly selected villages located near the wetlands in the six States covered by the basin. The climatic data were collected from the archives of KBY and upper Benue River Basin Development Headquarters, YolaÂ Â and interview schedule where. 20 respondents randomly selected in each of the sampled villages were interviewed, making a sampled population of 120 people in all. The data collected were analyzed using mean and simple percentages. The result revealed that majority of the respondents have farming as major occupation and they need wetland resources for their farming activities. This is followed by fishing, both of which are attributes of the wetlands. The last part of the paper proposes a pilot intervention measure, which will proportion a flow in to the wetlands; this will enable water to flow into the blocked channels and reduces the excess water inundation in to the other channels. The pilot intervention will also pilot institutional reforms geared towards empowering stakeholders to play leading roles in the management of water resources of the basin. The paper concludes with recommendations for some institutional reforms in the management of the KYB to avert the recurrence of the threats, as well as to facilitate sustainable management of the land and water resources of the basin.
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