Decrees Nos. 25 and 37 of 1976 established 11 River Basin Development Authorities, including the Cross River Basin Development Authority. The Authority was formally inaugurated on 26th May, 1977 by the then Federal Commissioner of Water Resources, Alhaji Ibrahim El-Yakubu. Its jurisdiction initially included the whole of the then Anambra,Imo States and part of Benue State.
In 1979, the Cross River Basin Development Authority assumed its present geographical entity courtesy of Decree No. 87 of 28th September, 1979.
The functions of the Cross River Basin Development Authority as spelt out by section 41(a)-(e) of the River Basin Development Authorities Act; cap R9, LFN, 2004 are as follows;
To undertake comprehensive development of both surface and underground water resources for multi-purpose use with the particular emphasis on the provision of irrigation infrastructure and the control of floods and erosion and for water – shed management;
To construct,operate and maintain dams, dykes, polders, wells boreholes,irrigation and drainage systems, and other works necessary for the achievement of the Authority’s functions and hand over all lands to be cultivated under the irrigation scheme to farmers;
To supply water from the Authority’s completed storage schemes to all users for a fee to be determined by the Authority with the approval of the Minister
To construct, operate and maintain infrastructural services such as roads and bridges linking project sites; provided that such infrastructural services are included and form integral part of the list of approved projects
To develop and keep up-to-date comprehensive water resources master plan, identifying all water resources requirements in the Authority’s area of operation, through adequate collection and collation of water resources,water use, socio-economic and environmental data of the River Basin.