Nigerian Water Crisis Overview
LAST UPDATED: Feb 24, 2017
The water situation in Nigeria has become an immensely serious one. As of 2015, it was estimated that only 67% of the nation’s overall population had “at least basic” access to water. Nigerians in the countryside, however, had it even worse, with only 54% of the rural population having basic access to water. The situation has been exacerbated by the Boko Haram insurgency, which has dealt significant damage to seventy-five percent of the water and sanitation infrastructure in the country’s northeastern region. In short, some 60 million Nigerians had inadequate access to one of the fundamental elements required for life.
The situation has had a particularly debilitating impact on Nigeria’s children. It is common for families to assign their children the task of fetching water for the household. Often, though, Nigerian children need to travel seven miles or more in order to access a basic source of water. This constant struggle regularly makes it all but impossible for such children to find the necessary time to attend school, and those who do attend are often forced to arrive late.
The figures are even more shocking in regards to sanitation. Only a third of Nigerians had access to basic sanitation, while in rural areas of the country that number fell to 27%. Despite the fact that providing individuals with proper sanitation is a major factor in promoting public health, as many as 122 million Nigerian citizens did not have access to proper sanitary infrastructure.
This point is perhaps best illustrated in regards to the sewer system in Nigeria; or, rather, the lack of a sewer system. In the city of Lagos, for instance, only 1% of households were connected to any form of a sewer system. For the most part, anyone else in the city with a desire for a form of sanitation had to rely on the use of septic tanks. While, in 2011, Lagos announced plans for significant improvements to the infrastructure of their wastewater treatment program, thus far it has yet to be put into effect.
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