Traditional land use in dry lands
The Komadugu Yobe is a network of rivers and wetlands. The inhabitants of this arid zone make their living in recession agriculture, pastoralism, forest use, fishing and tourism. The annual economic benefits of its natural resources are estimated at US$ 170.

The fast-growing population and their economic activities demand a large share of the water resources. Demand is approximately 2.5 times higher than available water. Decreasing rainfalls, possibly due to climate change, already reduced flows in the basin. The Komadugu tributary no longer reaches Yobe river and is blocked by silts and weeds.

Exploiting water resources for development
The Hadejia river system is more than 80% controlled by Tiga and Challawa Gorge dams. These two dams feed the Kano River Irrigation Project, the Hadejia Valley Irrigation Project and the Kano City Water Supply (KCWS). Earlier agreements to guarantee certain amounts of flow from the Hadejia river system for the downstream communities, who are dependent on flood recession agriculture, have so far not been implemented.

Fragmented governance
Water resources management in the basin is fragmented, with ill-defined and often conflicting responsibilities between government agencies and stakeholders. The lack of coordination between the two River Basin Development Authorities in the basin illustrates this institutional caveat. The situation is made worse by lack of reliable hydro-meteorological information on the basin, as the monitoring network which used to be effective up to the late 1970s is no longer there.

Increasing tensions
The result is growing tension between water users and regions. This is already leading to conflicts. The best illustrations are the dogged opposition of the downstream states of Yobe and Borno to the construction of Kafin Zaki Dam, and the incessant conflicts between farmers and pastoralists over access to water.

Action is being taken to address these issues. Tthe Nigerian National Council on Water Resources established a Hadejia-Jama'are-Komadugu-Yobe Coordination Committee in 1999. Also, the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) is implementing a GEF-supported programme for the integrated management of Lake Chad and associated river systems.

The Komadugu-Yobe Integrated Management project
These activities are supported by the Komadugu Yobe Integrated Management project that aims to create the institutional environment that allows participatory and informed decision-making. Such an environment is a necessary condition for the success of the subsequent full-fledged integrated land and water management of other programmes.

The project will establish a framework for a process of broad-based and informed decision-making, based on agreed principles for equitable use and sustainable management of the Komadugu Yobe Basin.

Specifically, it aims:

  1. To build the decision-support knowledge base so that water management options and other resources management decisions are taken on the basis of up to date information on water audit, socio-economic and ecological conditions.
  2. To pilot-test improved water management field interventions so that efficient and sustainable water utilisation techniques and approaches are demonstrated in downstream areas.
  3. To help establish a legal and policy enabling environment through the adoption and implementation of a water charter and supporting basin-level consultation and coordination mechanisms.
  4. To update and finalise existing draft a catchment management plan for the Komadugu Yobe Basin using participatory approaches and on the basis of the results of knowledge, policy and pilot activity components of the project.
  5. To ensure that the project is effectively managed, monitored and evaluated, so that lessons on managing river basins are leaned and disseminated to benefit similar initiatives


Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Water Resources, through the Hadejia-Jama'are -Komadugu Yobe Coordination Committee, DFID-JEWEL Project, Lake Chad Basin Commission through the GEF-Lake Chad Project; World Bank through the Fadama project; CIDA through the Forestry Project; FAO, and The World Conservation Union -West Africa Office (IUCN-BRAO)

Duration and budget
Two years and three moths at a total cost of EUR 1.5 million.

Back to top