Water Catastrophe



A colleague recently told this reporter that water is one of the most expensive items in South Africa. Well, in some parts of Lagos, clean potable water has assumed critical status, with residents roaming the streets and borehole owners smiling to the bank daily from bumper sales of pumped water.

As the World Water Day was marked recently globally, experts have expressed worry that Nigeria is at the precipice of a water, sanitation and hygiene catastrophe. According to WaterAid Nigeria, 33 per cent (about 60 million) of people in Nigeria are currently living without adequate access to water; 67 per cent (over 120 million people) do not have a decent toilet, and 26 per cent (about 47 million people) practice open defecation.

In a new brief launched recently, ‘How to reach everyone with safe water and sanitation by 2030’, WaterAid says urgent action to finance water and sanitation, to integrate it with efforts on health, nutrition and other related development, and to make progress sustainable is essential to reach everyone, everywhere.

According to the not-for-profit organisation, faster progress on all three will save lives, boost development and change the lives of billions of people living in extreme poverty globally. For every $1 spent on water and sanitation, on average $4 is returned in economic benefits.

WaterAid noted that without access to these basic amenities, men, women and children in Nigeria will remain trapped in a cycle of poverty and disease, while being denied their basic human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.

It also said the Nigerian government must prioritise clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene for people across the country, if Goal 6 of the SDGs – provision of clean water and decent sanitation for everyone everywhere – is to be reached by 2030. That is a worthwhile goal…not so?

– Abimbola Akosile