Find Water and Sanitation expertise in Nigeria
Nigeria has substantial fresh water resources. Each year more than 200 billion cubic metres of water are produced from the run-off of rivers, and large quantities of groundwater can be found in the Sokoto and the Chad sedimentary basins. However, water supply remains a significant problem in southern Nigeria as well as in the arid to semiarid north. Difficulties include the contaminating effects of industry and the problematic nature of both the electricity supply (which can interfere with the proper functioning of water works) and the sanitation infrastructure.
In 2004 about half of the population had access to safe drinking water, 40% in rural areas and 80% in urban areas. According to UNICEF, in 2008 about 58% of the rural population and 75% of the urban population had access to improved drinking water sources. Water is needed not only for domestic purposes such as drinking and washing, but for industry, environmental protection, agriculture and hydropower.
Nigerians derive their water from surface water, hand dug wells, rain harvesting, pipe borne water, boreholes, and vendors. According to an independent study in 2009, approximately half of the population rely on shallow wells, which are vulnerable to contamination.
Nigeria has no central sewage collection and disposal system. Approximately 54.6% (75.9 million) of Nigerians use pit latrines, 13.71% use water closet, 0.58% (806, 200) use the bucket system, and 31.16% (43.3 million) Nigerians use other methods, such as disposal in surface water bodies.
The government is responsible for supplying water at the federal, state and local levels. There is some foreign investment in the sector but it falls short of delivering a significant increase in access. Between 2010 and 2011, water sanitation and hygiene facilities were commissioned by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) In Partnership with the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) to address the lack of services in Bauchi state. The project included the construction rehabilitation of 49 boreholes and water systems, 100 ventilated improved pit latrines and 13 hand washing stations, as well as training sessions on hygiene and sanitation in communities, schools and health centres across Bauchi, Alkaleri and Ningi. Water, Environment and Sanitation Committees (WASHCOMs) were established throughout communities to encourage partnerships among institutions in the water sector.
In urban and semi-urban areas private septic and soak away pits are used for excreta and sewage disposal. Private contractors can be hired to dispose of the excreta-sewage. In rural areas, amongst those who have pit toilets, (about half of the entire rural population), the majority use unlined toilet pits with no provision for waste water.
The Water Resources decree of 1993 (FGN, 1993) vests the control of all surface water affecting more than one state in the federal government. The state water supply agencies have the primary responsibility for urban water supply. The Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development is the government department responsible for national water policies and programmes.
A report published by the World Bank in 2000 advocated an end to exclusive federal, state and local government control of the water supply. In 2004, National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) stated that the ownership and financing of water and sanitation infrastructure could be separated from service provision. NEEDS stressed that the involvement of the private sector in provision of water supply (which it conceptualized as a ‘service industry’), for instance through lease contracts with private firms, could improve efficiency. NEEDS also committed itself to 60% rural coverage in terms of water supply by 2007, partly through the construction of low-cost rural water schemes.
The National Environmental Standards and Enforcements Agency, NESREA, is responsible for the protection and development of the environment, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of Nigeria’s natural resources in general.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) was established to enforce compliance with the drinking water qualities guideline values as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The bottled water industry has grown dramatically in recent years, in Nigeria as well as in countries like Mexico and Vietnam. Multinationals like Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd as well as small to medium domestic companies have played a prominent part in this growth.