Nigeria is in a water crisis and water quality in Nigeria is suffering. The country has access to surface water and also water that comes from underground. Nigeria seemingly has enough access to water supplies, but in reality, only 19 percent of the Nigerian population has access to adequate drinking water. This is due to the fact that Nigeria is in a state of economic water scarcity. Economic water scarcity is the inability to protect and/or use water sources for socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability.
This economic disparity is distorting the access to basic water supply for those living in impoverished areas in Nigeria. According to stats that The Conversation collected in 2017, about 80 percent of wealthy Nigerians have access to a basic water supply and healthy drinking water, while only 49 percent of poor Nigerians have this access.
Journalist Dele Sobowale researched the increases in the Nigerian population and found that the population is increasing by 6 million a year. Additionally, out of the 6 million, 80 percent lack access to safe drinking water. This means that the water they currently have access to does not meet Nigeria’s standards for safe drinking water. Nigeria determines if water passes its standards by testing for taste, smell, bacteria and E. coli.
The results of the tests concluded that 64 percent of Nigerian households have access to clean water sources, such as piped water, boreholes and collected rainwater. However, the results also showed that about 90 percent of Nigerian households consumed E. coli contaminated water at some point, either from the clean water sources or non-clean water sources.
Although all of this has been occurring, many are making efforts to counteract this crisis. Many organizations have been working to improve water quality in Nigeria.
Organizations and Efforts on the Ground
USAID has been trying to improve access to clean water and sanitation in Nigeria by partnering with local governments and private sectors. It understands that lack of access is contributing to the “high prevalence of waterborne diseases, threatens the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and contributes to low levels of school enrollment.”
The Corporate Accountability Global Campaign is another invite that is helping improve Nigeria’s water system. It partnered with the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA) to create a campaign that would captivate people and urge local officials to not turn the water system to private sectors. It has especially been working in Lagos, Nigeria to fight for water justice. Its goal is to stop private water corporations from interfering with the public water system all around the globe. It started with Lagos but it is part of a movement for global water justice.
UNICEF is also fighting for access to clean water sources in Nigeria, specifically for young children. Young children in Nigeria are suffering the worst from the water crisis because it is increasing mortality rates for children under 5. According to UNICEF’s data, “The use of contaminated drinking water and poor sanitary conditions result in increased vulnerability to water-borne diseases, including diarrhea which leads to deaths of more than 70,000 children under 5 annually.” Children are dying and access to clean water sources is disproportionate among poorer children in this country.
In order to fix this injustice, UNICEF came up with a few solutions that will help reduce the amount of harm contaminated water is causing in Nigeria. These solutions include preparation for equal access to water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH), strengthening the government’s efforts to stop the practice of open defecation, expanding the capacity of national and subnational bodies to create equal gender-sensitive WASH policies and ensuring the rural communities have sustainable water sources.
Water is a basic need for human existence and there are some countries that do not have access to clean and healthy water. The help of organizations like the ones above can help fix the water quality in Nigeria. With one step at a time, people could eradicate insufficient water quality across the world.
– Jessica Jones