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Access to clean water in Nigeria is vital

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By Usman Oladimeji

Just 69 percent of Nigerians have access to a sufficient water supply.

Water, being the most abundant natural resource on our planet, assumes a paramount role in sustaining the existence of all. The long-standing saying, “Water is the essence of life,” underscores the profound significance of water in sustaining all forms of natural existence. Developed nations are well committed to the allocation of substantial resources towards water management, and establishing institutions to effectively manage the water resources in a manner that maximizes their potential. However, this is not the case in the majority of developing countries as effective water resource management is not a top priority and only few people have easy access to clean water.

It is estimated that Nigeria boasts more than 2,000 cubic meters of renewable water resources per capita annually. Yet, just 69% of Nigerians are said to have access to a sufficient water supply. Nigeria still has limited access to renewable water resources as compared to other countries. This highlights the massive effort and financial commitment needed to provide sustainable water supply services across the country. In order to meet these needs, the government of Nigeria established the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to supervise and direct the expansion of the country’s water infrastructure.

Lack of safe potable water engenders waterborne ailments.

However, complaints have been voiced across the years about how inadequate finances have slowed down the ministry. This has been the primary obstacle to implementing the ministry’s water resources master plan, which was just recently given the green light. The budgetary allocation for water resources to the ministry in the year 2023 amounts to approximately 200 billion naira. Only about 12 billion naira, much short of what the UN recommends for a functional water delivery system, is allocated for the water resources master plan for the year.

Residents are denied access to potable water due to a lack of financing for water resources. A considerable portion of the accessible water supply is also contaminated, thereby resulting in poor sanitation conditions. The lack of safe and secure potable water engenders waterborne ailments, mortalities, healthcare expenses, as well as diminished productivity and time management. Through increased financial support, the Ministry of Water Resources in Nigeria will be fortified in its capacity to effectively manage the nation’s water resources, thereby facilitating the provision of accessible water supply to its populace and guaranteeing the implementation of sound sanitation practices.

UNICEF is willing to aid increase water access for Nigerians.

Enhanced allocation of funds will, in addition, empower the ministry to effectively safeguard the nation’s environment against the perils of pollution, curtail water waste and preserve the hydrological cycle by protecting the water environment and its ecology. It will also ensure a sufficient supply of water for drinking, industrial, and agriculture. More excitingly, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), among other international organisations, is willing to work with Nigeria’s Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to implement the country’s water management strategy.

Dr. Rownak Khan, the Deputy Director of UNICEF, recently paid a visit to Nigerian Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Professor Joseph Utsev, in Abuja, where he expressed his organisation’s willingness to collaborate with Nigeria on the campaign to put an end to open defecation and increase people’s access to clean water and sanitation. The government of Nigeria has to take advantage of this chance to work with international organisations to fulfill the ministry’s role in water resource management and speed up the delivery of water supply services to the general public.

Govt should consider allocating a huge budget to water sector.

Additionally, the government should seriously consider allocating a larger portion of the budget to the Water Resources sector to aid in the improvement of the water delivery system and the expansion of ordinary Nigerians’ access to water. Stakeholders in the water supply chain should be able to develop innovative methods of making use of existing waters, such as the River Benue and Niger and its tributaries, in order to dam the major rivers, while also providing basic water for drinking, agriculture and electricity generation for the populace usage as obtained in many Africa nations.

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