The Italian multinational energy firm Eni, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have commissioned 11 solar-powered water schemes in Borno and Yobe States in northeast Nigeria to address water scarcity for communities affected and displaced by the region’s political conflicts.
The projects were completed between 2018 and 2020, and they provided water for home use as well as irrigation for communities in Borno and Yobe. Due to the ongoing political difficulties in the region, the official transfer of the projects was postponed.
Commenting, the Head of Sustainable Development, Eni, Alberto Piatti, said: “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.”
“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.”
FAO’s representative in Nigeria and to the ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, said: “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.”
The water schemes, which include boreholes, solar power systems, treatment facilities, and fetching points, were developed as part of the “Access to Water” initiative, which was established by Eni, the NNPC, and the FAO to alleviate hunger and poverty while addressing climate action and clean water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goals.
Since 2018, Eni and FAO have completed 22 water well projects as part of the “Access to Water” initiative, including five in Abuja and 17 in northeast Nigeria, providing access to clean water and sanitation for 67,000 people. In November 2018, the first project under the ‘Access to Water’ facility for internally displaced people was launched in Waru, FCT.