GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBITY IN THE PROVISION OF PORTABLE WATER IN NIGERIA


Engr Oladokun Simeon hails from Ogbomosho, Oyo State, and South Western Nigeria.

He has had over 25 years experience on supervising laudable World Bank Sponsored/Financed water projects, both as a consultant and as a contractor. He is a registered Engineer with Council of the Regulation of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) and a member of Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE).

With his wide knowledge and working experience, he is considered as a reference point and problem solvers in the water industry. He has travelled far and wide both locally and internationally.

Engr Simeon Oladokun is a product of Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos as well as the Federal University of Technology, Akure Ondo State, South Western Nigeria, West Africa.

Water is one of the basic necessity things of life. We need water for survival. The constitution allow the issue of water supply and sanitation be handled by three (3) tiers of government. 

Responsibility of water supply in Nigeria is shared between three levels of government, namely the Federal, State and Local.

The Federal government is in charge of water resources management, the State governments have the primary responsibility for urban water supply, while the Local governments together with the communities are responsible for rural water supply.

The Federal government recently declared that state governments were beginning to neglect the provision of adequate water supply and sanitation, particularly in urban areas.

It also stated that the neglect had further worsened water supply situation across the country. 

To address the drop in water supply in Nigeria, the National Water supply and sanitation policy in Nigeria, put in place in the year 2000, policies to be implemented. 

The policy spelt out the roles and responsibilities of the three tiers of government. It also recommended cost-sharing formula for agreed capital investment in the provision of water supply. 

For urban water supply, the Federal government is expected to contribute 30%, 60% is the expected contribution from the state, while the remaining 10%, come from the Local government.

Unfortunately, today, it has been noted that this policy has not been met, despite the various strategies being adopted by the Federal government to ensure implementation of the policy through counter funding of water supply projects, in the country at large.

In order to overcome likely challenges that are facing water Agencies, there is the need to review the said policy with a view to proffer better water supply structure and sanitation that would enhance more collaborative efforts.

It is very important to note that Nigeria water sector is facing a lot of challenges because few percentage of our populace have access to improve water supply.

There is also drop in funds allocated for water supply projects, which hinders the supply of water. Government need to invest more in water supply at least three (3) times more than it is today to achieve the required ‘STANDARD DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGD)’ in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). 

The challenges in water sector were considerable and this requires continue resourcefulness and hard work.

The overall effective urban water supply coverage as a proportion of the total population due to poor maintenance and unreliability is still sub 50%. We need to cultivate because of the poor maintenance culture in all our water supply sectors.

Provision of spare parts for maintenance and its sustainability also significant.

In July 2017, there was an interactive meeting in Lagos state, Nigeria, with the private sectors who are major players in the water industry, with the government on water and sanitation issues.

The interactive platform focused on “Partnership”, and the outcome of this is aimed towards expansion and improvement on water supply, sanitation and hygiene. It was tagged: PATNERSHIP FOR EXPANDED WATER SUPPLY, SANITATION AND HYEGIENE (PEWASH). At the meeting, the Federal Minister of Water Resources called for formal engagement with the private sectors on the needed partnerships that lead to improvement of water supply and sanitation delivery in Nigeria.

The Federal government of Nigeria primary priority is to find lasting solutions to inadequate water supply and poor sanitation that is currently the situation in the country.

It is estimated that more than 50 million people are currently without access to portable water. Majority of these people without access to portable water live in the rural areas, where they trek some distances everyday to fetch water from source. The source could be ‘Well’, ‘Stream’ or ‘River’. 

With the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDS), and in particular the ones that are dedicated to water. supply, and sanitation, the world has now committed to achieving access to water, sanitation and hygiene, for all, under a broader, more refined and intricate monitoring frame.

The “Partnership for Expanded Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene” (PEWASH), was launches late 2017 by the Vice president of Nigeria.

PEWASH is designed to be a national collaborative instrument for all stakeholders, ranging from: governments (Federal, State and Local), Development partners, Private sectors, NGO’s, CSO’s, Philanthropists and communities.

It is intended to mobilize all the stakeholders’ efforts and channel them towards the same goal, objectives and targets.

The strength of the programme is that it is designed to build on all on -going efforts as well as to complement existing water supply and sanitation strategies by instituting, coordinating and prioritization of framework for water project delivery.

The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is seriously working on PEWASH, programmed to ensure its actualization and sustainability.