Functions of The Agency

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency provides the services required for assessment of Nigeria’s surface and ground water resources in terms of quantity, quality, distribution and availability in terms and space for efficient and sustainable management of water resources. Consequently, the Agency operates and maintains hydrological stations nationwide and also carries out ground water exploration and monitoring using various scientific technics in order to provide hydrogeological data needed for proper planning, design, execution and management of water resources and allied projects.


Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency has a number of specialized projects/programmes fashioned towards monitoring and assessment of the water resources of the country for sustainable development.

Nigeria has 273 stations out of a minimum network of 482 hydrometric river gauging stations recommended by the WMO. Most of the available stations are manual with conventional facilities while twenty-seven (27) are automated. This programme aims at attaining the optimum number of stations for the country and upgrading already existing ones with automatic Data Collection Platforms (DCPs).

Through this programme, river stage (height) is being observed at a number of hydrological stations equipped with solid state pressure loggers (Orphimedes OTT brand). These are electronic measuring devices which provide continuous real-time measurements with high accuracy.

The main project objective is the production of the Hydrogeological Map of Nigeria on varying scales but most especially on 1:250,000 for the facilitation of the following:

  • Regional overview of groundwater resources availability, quantitatively and qualitatively;
  • Improved water budgeting and conjunctive use of surface and groundwater for domestic, agricultural, industrial and energy purposes thereby promoting food security, good health and poverty alleviation.
  • Prevention of inter-state conflicts arising from shared water both nationally and internationally.
  • The Agency has completed limited collection and collation of water resources data in all the eight (8) hydrological areas of the country.
  • Production of the electronic map of Nigeria showing the Hydrological Areas, States and River Basin Development Authorities boundaries to serve as the base map needed for the project. In addition, arrangements were made to procure other base maps such as geological and topographic maps covering the country.
  • Procurement of computer hardware and software for effective project management.
  • Groundtruthing of some data already collected in all the eight (8) Hydrological areas for the enrichment of the Hydrological Information System (HIS) for the project has been completed. The Agency is now working toward production of the maps to cover the entire country.

The project involves routine quarterly discharge measurement on River Benue and their major tributaries.  Discharge measurement was carried out in 27 stations across the hydrological areas. The States measurement took place were Anambra, Adamawa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kogi, Kebbi, Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger, Oyo and Taraba.

The operation and maintenance of data collection platform is designed to provide real-time hydrological data for flood and drought forecasting in the country. Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger Oyo and Tarraba.

The project is designed to produce flood vulnerability maps for areas that lay on the floodplains and periodic observation of water level fluctuations on rivers and reservoirs.

The groundwater monitoring network serves the following objectives:

  • Chart the trend and magnitude of annual groundwater level fluctuation within each groundwater basin in order to predict the variations in groundwater storage on short and long-term basis.
  • Detect early, the presence and effect of saline water intrusion into the freshwater regime where applicable.
  • Chart on a constant basis, the determinant quality of groundwater and thus give early warning of possible pollution and drought.
  • Prepare modalities for reversing the trend and sustainable management of our groundwater system.

The NIHSA flood alert system is based on the regular collection of meteorological data. The project also provides flood warning coverage, a real-time, community-oriented flood warning system geared towards reducing risks involved with flooding. The establishment of flood warning systems near any major waterway or body of water provides critical information that can protect property and save lives.

The objective of this project is to capture/retrieve and maintain all previous, present and future generated hydrological data/information in our hydrological areas and water related agencies. In furtherance to these objectives the Agency developed a Web-Based Database Management System (DBMs) which serves as an upgrade to the Microsoft Structured Query Language (SQL) Server currently in use. The New DBMS incorporates a centralized storage system using the cloud server and backup severs in 3 of its Zonal offices. This is to ensure a robust data collection platform which offers timely information dissemination and efficient data management. The strengthening of the existing hydronet data collection system is in progress to incorporate River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) and the eight (8) Zonal Offices.

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), charged by Act to issue forecasts for floods and droughts, has for the past eight years been supplementing its efforts on flood prevention by means of production and publication of the Annual Flood Outlook (AFO). The publication of AFO came into force following the disastrous flood of 2012. The aim of the AFO is to present probable flood scenarios in a given year and a practicable means of preventing the reoccurrence of the 2012 flood disaster with its resultant loss of lives and property, devastation of agricultural and industrial areas, disruption to infrastructure and communication facilities, and interruption of highway traffic and river navigation, and socio-economic well-being.

The Agency also embarked on sensitization exercise immediately after the AFO publication. The objective of these exercise is to disseminate information contained in the AFO document to the grassroots. Furthermore, the document provides the necessary data and information to stakeholder to reduce the effects of flooding’s to the barest minimum.

 The Agency initiated the installation of AWOS in the Eight (8) Hydrological Areas of the Country for the purpose of monitoring effect of climate change on water resources nationwide. The data obtained from the stations are utilized for various purposes such as monitoring of hydrological hazards, assessment of water resources, research and educational purposes. The AWOS is an automated version of the traditional weather station designed to provide meteorological/hydrological data component required for flood/drought mitigation and monitoring of the immediate impact of climate change on water resources of the country.

The Nationwide Sediment Transport Studies Project is aimed at providing a comprehensive sediment and river quality related database in the national hydrological collection effort through a systematic approach in the monitoring and evaluation of sediment transport from our national hydrometric network on a continuous basis.

Preliminary hydrogeophysical investigation of the Ondo state sector of the Keta (Dahomey) Basin involving integrated geophysical, hydrogeological, Hydrochemical studies borehole date analysis was carried out. This was with a view to delineating the lithostratigraphic sequence within basin, identify the aquifer units and their geometries to determine the shape of the basin, depth to aquifers, groundwater types and evolution; establish quality of groundwater and possible causes of pollution, map saline water zone and determine fresh/saline water interface and provide information that would aid successful groundwater development for water supply scheme in the study area.

The Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) programme started in June, 2014 with the sole aim of providing remotely sensed data to Nigeria and the entire Africa.  The programme latter metamorphosed into Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) Support Programme in the same year as a result of the longstanding cooperation between Africa and Europe in the area of space science & technology, which is one of the key priorities of the long-term EU-Africa Joint Strategy. 

The programme aims at improving African policy-makers’, planners’, scientists’, business and private sector and citizens’ capacities to design, implement, and monitor national, regional and continental policies and to promote sustainable management of natural resources through the use of Earth Observation data and derived information.