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Water experts, IT professionals collaborate to tackle Nigeria’s water challenges

Nigeria’s water and sanitation experts are collaborating with their colleagues in the Information Technology sector to find solutions to Nigeria’s water supply and sanitation challenges. An event which will attempt to find innovative solutions to Nigeria’s water supply and sanitation problems will hold in Lagos October 21-23.

Nicknamed ‘WaterHackathon’, the event brings together water experts and IT developers to find  Information Technology driven solutions to water-related issues, such as lack of  access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation,  flooding and drought

caused by climate change issues;  irrigation and watershed management, and groundwater and surface water pollution.

“A hackathon event is an intensive marathon of brainstorming and programming, where software developers and designers collaborate with subject matter experts to create new tools for solving a set of problems.

Nigeria’s WaterHackathon will feature web and mobile software programmers working with water experts to create new tools to address the world’s water challenges, and similar WaterHackathon  are taking place simultaneously in 9 other cities across the world -Bangalore, Cairo, Kampala, Lima, London, Nairobi, TelAviv, Toronto and Washington D.C with the support of the World Bank ”, said the local organisers

Lack of safe water and adequate sanitation is the world’s single largest cause of illness, responsible for more than two million deaths every year. As the global population grows, and demands on natural resources increase, the sustainable management of water is acquiring new urgency. New ideas, better data and innovative instruments are needed to respond to the global water crisis”, said Femi Longe Director of Programmes of

During Nigeria’s WaterHackathon Technologists including Programmers, designers, engineers, techies, data specialists and concerned citizens will work hand-in-hand with water experts in an intensive weekend of hacking technical solutions to help communities address water problems”, Longe added.

eWASH notes that access to improved water and sanitation is generally a major challenge in Nigeria. Water and Sanitation coverage in Nigeria are amongst the lowest in the world.  According to the 2008  report of the WHO/UNICEF JMP Joint Monitoring Programme, Nigeria is in the bottom 25 countries worldwide in terms of water and sanitation coverage. Nigeria, like several other sub Saharan African countries is not on track to reach the MDG targets of 75%  coverage for improved drinking water and 63% coverage for  improved sanitation by the year 2015.

If the present pattern of water coverage continues only 74.8 m out of the estimated 170m will be using water from improved sources in 2015. This figure represents 52.7m people short of the MDG target. For sanitation, if Nigeria continues at the current rate, only 57.8 million out of the estimated 170m people will have access to improved sanitation facilities in 2015, which represents 61.2 million people short of the MDG target for improved sanitation.

Ahead of the WaterHackathon, a Water Meet up is being organised where water experts and other interested stakeholders will brainstorm challenges in water and sanitation, peculiar to Nigeria, that technology tools can be created to address. A shortlist of these challenges will then be worked on at the weekend hackathon where the software developers actually build the tools.

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