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Govt. built 6,761 water schemes nationwide

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By Usman Oladimeji

Approximately 32 million people nationwide were provided clean water.

As we celebrate the 2024 World Water Day on 22nd of March, a day which highlights the need for sustainable management of freshwater resources, the Federal Government took the momentum to announce significant feats accomplished in providing clean water to the citizens. The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, revealed the completion of 6,761 water projects in urban, semi-urban, and rural regions, providing clean water to approximately 32 million people nationwide. Prof. Utsev, who shared this during a press briefing for the commemorative celebrations, noted that a total of 10,568 sanitation facilities had been built across institutions and public spaces in 127 Local Government Areas.

These facilities were meant to accommodate and serve a total of 550,820 individuals within the community. The 2024 World Water Day, themed ‘Water for Peace’, was described as a crucial initiative to address the water crisis by promoting innovative solutions for better access to clean water. The primary goal is to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 water and sanitation for all by 2030. Utsev mentioned that his ministry has collaborated with various government entities and key players in the water and sanitation industry to implement multiple projects aimed at boosting funding for water resource initiatives, expanding resource mobilization efforts, and promoting investment in water infrastructure.

2,190 boreholes were built, providing water to 2,006,250 people.

He explained that the initial stage of the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (PEWASH) program has successfully finished, aiming to improve water access in rural areas and public sanitation. A total of 2,190 boreholes were built, providing water to 2,006,250 people with a daily capacity of 3,001,578 litres. Utsev revealed that his ministry has been actively promoting the Clean Nigeria Campaign since 2019, with the goal of eradicating open defecation in the country by 2025.

Utsev shared that under his leadership, the ministry has successfully declared 15 more LGAs in five states as Open Defecation Free (ODF). Currently, there are 120 ODF LGAs nationwide, with Jigawa State as the first state in Nigeria to achieve ODF free status. He mentioned that when a state of emergency was declared in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services (WASH) sector in 2018, the ministry was promoted to launch a National WASH Action Plan to improve the poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services across the nation.

SURWASH program was initiated in collaboration with World Bank.

Through collaborative efforts with the World Bank, Water Aid, and various development partners, the government implemented strategies to tackle existing obstacles hindering widespread access to clean and drinkable water within the nation. His ministry, in collaboration with the World Bank, initiated the Sustainable Urban Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) program to improve access to water supply in Urban, Small Towns, and Rural Areas while also enhancing sector institutions in the states involved. Thereby, providing 6 million people with essential drinking water services and 1.4 million access to improved sanitation services.

In order to help Nigeria reach its goal of universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene by 2030, it is essential for both the federal government and states to create strong institutional frameworks and secure funding for sustainable WASH services. Increased investment in the WASH sector will guarantee the availability of crucial funds and financing needed to deliver the required infrastructure and services. By allocating more funds to the sector, we can guarantee that there will be enough financial resources available to carry out initiatives and endeavours aimed at enhancing the availability of WASH services.

Related Article: FG, UNICEF to reform water, sanitation sector

It is crucial for the government to focus on providing WASH services to rural communities in Nigeria due to the difficulties they face in accessing such services. Tailoring interventions to meet the specific needs of these rural areas is essential. Coordination among various state and non-state actors is necessary for efficient financing and improved performance in the WASH sector to effectively implement the National Action Plan. Hence, it is crucial for both federal and state governments to focus on collaboration and communication in order to align with areas such as public health, education, urban and rural development, environment, and governance for long-lasting effectiveness.

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