The Federal Government on Thursday launched the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality to promote the availability of safe drinking water for all Nigerians.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, at the launching ceremony in Abuja, said that the availability of clean water supply was the focus of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality sets limits for water contaminants that are hazardous to health and also provides guidelines for meeting the mandatory limits for safe water.
Quoting a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, the minister said that it was estimated that about 60 per cent of all diseases in developing countries were related to consumption of unsafe water and poor sanitation.
Adamu said that diseases related to drinking water contamination represented a major burden on national health care delivery.
He, therefore, called for immediate interventions from all relevant stakeholders to improve the quality of drinking water for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Adamu said that Nigeria had made some progress in expanding the citizens’ access to improved water supply with the current access standing at 67 per cent.
He, however, underscored the need for the nation to make concerted efforts to meet the Goal Six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The minister said that it was saddening that not much had been achieved in respect of enforcement of standards, adding that water producers still operated without due regard to the quality of water they supplied to the citizens.
Adamu said that the ministry was working to speed up the upgrading of the water quality laboratories in Lagos, Akure, Kano, Minna, Enugu and Gombe, as part of efforts to mount water quality surveillance and enforce standards.
He also said that efforts were underway to finalise the Water Quality Management Strategy which sought to harmonise the implementation of all water quality procedures.
The minister, nonetheless, called for the speedy passage of the National Water Resources Bill into law.
Mr Emmanuel Awe, Director, Water Quality Supply and Sanitation in the ministry, called for immediate intervention from all stakeholders to revamp the nation’s water resources sector.
He said that it had been reported that chemicals such as Arsenic had been polluting groundwater sources, saying the development was as a result of the increased use of pesticides and fertilisers in agricultural projects.
Also speaking, Mr Osita Aboloma, Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), expressed satisfaction with the wide acceptance and use of the Standard for Drinking Water Quality to improving the people’s well-being.
Aboloma, who was represented by Mrs Elsie Ofili, commended the water resources ministry for its role in spearheading the public awareness campaign for monitoring water quality and effective management of the nation’s water resources.
“The responsibility for lead institution in enforcing the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality NIS 554:2015 had been reassigned to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
“Other significant changes in the standard include the revision period, the maximum allowable limits for magnesium and the criteria for compliance and enforcement.
“We will keep supporting the ministry in its effort to promote access to safe water for all Nigerians,” he said.
In 2005, the National Council on Water Resources recognised the need to produce a national standard for drinking water quality for the country.
The Nigerian Industrial Standard for Potable Water, which was developed by SON and the National Guidelines and Standards for Drinking Water Quality in Nigeria, however, failed to garner the acceptance of all stakeholders.