Equitable and Sustainable Management of Land and Water Resources of the KYB
'The most water-stressed basin in Nigeria'
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about the KYB

KYB is an abbreviation for Komadugu Yobe Basin, which is sometimes referred to as the Hadejia-Jama'are-Komadugu-Yobe Basin. It covers a total area of about 148,000 km2 in north-eastern Nigeria (comprising of about 57% of the basin area) and south-eastern Niger (constituting the remaining 43%). The KYB is a sub-basin of the Lake Chad Basin. The basin is drained by two main river systems: the Yobe and the Komadugu. The Yobe River system is made up of the Hadejia River and the Jama'are River sub-systems. The Nigeria portion of the basin contributes more than 95% of the basin's water. It is also interesting to state that the basin contains an extensive floodplain at the confluence of the Hadejia River and Jama'are River sub-systems, referred to as the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands (HNWs).

Apart from the basin being shared by the two countries (Nigeria and Niger) in terms of land, its water resources is primarily shared by six states (namely; Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau and Yobe) in Nigeria. It can, therefore, be counted among the transboundary river basins in Africa because it is shared by at least Nigeria and the Niger Republic. The KYB is considered to be of strategic national and international importance to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in the sense of its bearing diplomatic relationships with four other countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad and Niger) that share the Lake Chad Basin. The HNWs have also been designated a Ramsar site by Nigeria and the International Community, and have a high level of biodiversity with an extensive variety of Sahelian and migratory bird species as well as providing essential income and nutritional benefits for the people living within the basin and its environs.

From the past few years, the basin has experienced significant threats and challenges resulting in a serious competition for the water resources available. In fact, the basin is the most stressful basin among all the river basins in Nigeria. Of the combined effects of drought and developments that have impacted upon the basin, in general, and the wetlands, in particular, with the resultant loss of plant and animal habitant, certain large mammal species are considered locally extinct and agricultural production has become more precarious. Conflicts among users and sectors have also arisen both for the quest of water and access to land.

The emerging critical issues being experience in the basin stemmed from the inadequate land and water management practices in the basin. These have, for instance, changed the seasonal flow to perennial flow regime resulting in the invasion of reeds and weeds such as Typha grass in some of the river reaches, blockage of streams and flooding of channels. There also exist the misconceptions regarding the root causes of the issues by majority of the people who depend very much on the basin and its resources.

If the current trends continue unchecked, the ecological integrity of the basin may be compromised to the extent that it would fail to provide the necessary goods and services to support human development and ensure environmental conservation. This situation, therefore, calls for a fair, judicious and sustainable allocation of water resources among competing sectors, and among the constituent regions and states.

The Project was initially about creating a process through the coordination and cooperation of all stakeholders to dialogue to reverse the natural resources degradation trends in the KYB. It started as a collaborative one among the FGN through the Federal Ministry responsible for Water Resources in Nigeria, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) through its Africa Regional Office responsible for West Africa, and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF).

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