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High population, urbanisation hinders access to water and sanitation in Nigeria, says ANEW Chair

 Chairman Africa Civil Society Network On Water and Sanitation (ANEW), Mr Leo Atakpu has identified high population growth rate and urbanisation   as two key challenges impending  universal access to improved water and sanitation serviceS in Nigeria.

The steady rapid growth in our population and the rate of urbanization have negative implications for water resource management’, said Atakpu at a civil society roundtable to mark the World Water Day in Lagos, Nigeria.

His words: “Nigeria being one of the fastest growing nations is projected to reach 289 million by 2050.  The rate of urbanization is also at about 4% per annum. The implication of this trend is a meteoric rise in the number and percentage of the population dwelling in urban centres which increases the demand for water and the pressure on the water supply system.

The implication of this projected population explosion is the limitation in the water consumption requirement by 2050. Thus, Nigeria needs 56billion litres of water per day of potable water supply for domestic use only as well as enough water for industrial and agricultural use. Projected Urban Population of 75% will place additional pressure on government and duty bearers as it pertains to water supply. There is need for urgent action in terms of planning and capital deployment for provision of the supporting infrastructure and the required human capacity needed to achieve this envisaged target.”

The ANEW Chair also listed other factors that impede access to improved water supply to include poor operations and maintenance of water supply and sanitation facilities, in adequate human capacity to manage water supply and sanitation undertakings in Nigeria; policy inconsistency at both the Federal and State Government levels; non passage of the Water Resources Management Bill; poor sectoral governance, corrupt practices; and inadequate financing.

“There exist a huge funding gap towards the execution of the sector key programmes and initiatives. The Nigerian government is currently saddled with the challenge of coping with financial constraint of the sector with an annual estimate of $2.5 billion to meet the water and sanitation target between 2011 and 2015. Annual budgets and support from development partners do not add up to the needed amount. Thankfully, The European union (EU) is planning to spend about N37billion on water supply and sanitation programmes in Nigeria over the next five years (2012-2017)”

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