Dumpsite contamination is making ground water unsafe – FUTA Don raises alarm

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*Photo: Prof Omosuyi *

A Professor of Exploration Geophysics, Oluwole Omosuyi, has raised the alarm about the high potential of possible contamination of groundwater by the proliferation of dumpsites in most cities and villages in Nigeria. He said such contamination portends grave danger for human health and wellbeing of man and animal. Professor Omosuyi stated this while delivering the 144th inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure on Tuesday 8th February, 2022. Omosuyi who titled his lecture, “Imminent Water War: Hydro Geophysics to the Rescue,” defined groundwater as water that exists in the pore spaces and fracture in rocks and sediments beneath the earth surface.

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According to him, Urban Waste material largely of domestic garbage, when improperly disposed, constitutes harmful risk to groundwater around the area. He said that the decomposing organic matter within the dumpsite will generate significant leachate plume which pollute and eventually render groundwater resources around the dumpsite unwholesome for domestic use and human consumption. He gave the example of the Otutubuosun dumpsite within the Akure, Ondo State Metropolis where scientific analyses reveal low resistivity anomalies suggesting heavy impregnation of plume. According Omosuyi, “Due to static water level around the dumpsite, the groundwater resources around the area is suspected to have been impaired.” He said since several improperly created dumpsites, without recourse to geologic /geographic guide, can be seen across the country, the problem of groundwater pollution is widespread.

Professor Omosuyi said another factor militating against the availability of ground water is the indiscriminate drilling of boreholes by non-experts. He emphasized that the fate of a borehole, in terms of yield and productivity, is in the proficiency of the drilling engineer. He said best sites and best hydro geophysical investigation may not necessarily translate into the best productive borehole, unless such borehole is appropriately drilled in line with the Hydro geophysical prescription completed and developed in line with the professional practices. He also warned that indiscriminate drilling of boreholes could have catastrophic consequences.

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He said in spite of abundance of water resources in the country ,most Nigerians do not have access to safe and potable  water.  According to him,  “Nigeria is suffering from economic water scarcity caused by lack of investment and inadequate infrastructure to ensure regular water supply in site of the abundant water resources in the country”. He said summary of access to water in Nigeria indicates that only 9 percent of the population use pipe borne water while only 4 per cent use it on their premises. He said 171 Million of the country’s population does not have access to safely managed water services in the country.  

Omosuyi reiterated that water is a strategic natural resource and scarcity of potable water is a frequent contributor to political conflicts through-out the world. He said with the decreasing availability and increasing demand for water some have predicted that clean water will soon become the NEXT OIL inadvertently making water war imminent. Omosuyi advised that since there is nothing more essential to life on earth than water a new approach to solve the water crises should be adopted and pursued vigorously.  He advised leaders to invest appreciable resources in making potable water available for human consumption and domestic and industrial use. He said Nigeria should take a cue from countries like Israel and Qatar to solve the water scarcity problem bedeviling the country.

Omosuyi advised that every nation should work toward ensuring optimal access to water which allows for usage of 100 liters per person per day on the average. He also recommended that countries through their various institute of learning should set up Institutes or Directorates of Groundwater Development and Management with the primary responsibility of coordinating research outputs and the training of people on ground water development, protection and management for the benefit of the country and mankind.

Looking inwards he said the Department of Applied Geophysics, FUTA should reinforce its current status and aim at providing the best education for water professionals by engaging more  expertise from related diversified fields that will amount to expanding knowledge and innovation which will prepare the students and future generation for the challenges ahead.

Speaking in his capacity as chairman of the occasion, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, who was represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, Professor Deji Ogunsemi, lauded the lecturer for his contributions to the development of the body of knowledge in his area of core competence. He described Professor Omosuyi as an Exploration Geophysicist par excellence.

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