By James Emejo and Folalumi Alaran
The total number of Nigerians with access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services dropped to 18 million people or nine per cent in 2019 from 21 million or 11 per cent in the preceding year.
According to 2019 Water, Sanitation, Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping Report (WASH-NORM) survey, which was jointly published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and UNICEF, there are stark disparities in access to basic water supply services with regards to the wealth quintiles.
The report said people from the poorest households are about two times less likely to have access to basic water supply services than those from the richest households.
It added that in rural areas, the average per capita share of drinking water is 8.6 liters/person/day.
“Only 19 per cent of the population are using water supply systems in rural areas that meet the adequacy threshold of providing “sufficient” quantities of water or a minimum of 16 litres of water per person per day for those living within 500 meters from the water system,” the study stated.
It however, pointed out that about 70 per cent of Nigerians have access to basic drinking water supply services, indicating a slight progress from the previous year in the achievement of universal and equitable access to the use of basic drinking water services, especially for those living in urban areas.
The 2019 WASH-NORM survey which is its second edition is an effort to regularly measure relevant indicators, which the country can use to track changes in various dimensions of WASH services with the view of meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets 6.1 and 6.2.
It stated that public water utilities are currently producing water in only 28 out of 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) adding that public utilities are classified as functional or consistently producing water, supplying to active consumers and collecting user fees across 16 states.
However, while Lagos State recorded the highest population with access to basic water supply services (96 per cent); Imo recorded the highest population with access to basic sanitation services (68 per cent) ,while Jigawa recorded the highest population with basic hygiene services in 2019 (49 per cent).
Speaking during the launch of the report, the Statistician General of the Federation/ Chief Executive, NBS, Dr. Yemi Kale said the study showed that fewer people have access to basic WASH services in 2019 than in 2018, adding that the data will support policy making by the government.