FG Implementing Initiatives For Improved Access To Safe, Clean Water -Minister


The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev has said that the Federal Government was implementing various initiatives to improve access to safe and clean water across the country, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.

Prof. Utsev stated this on Friday while briefing newsmen at an event organised by the Ministry to mark this year’s World Water Day in Abuja.

TheFact Daily reports that the United Nations (UN) has designated March 22nd each year as World Water Day (WWD), for Governments, Organisations, and Agencies to celebrate and raise awareness on improving access to safe and clean water.

According to the UN, out of every 100 persons, 25 get their water from open streams and ponds which are often contaminated by human feces or waste with disastrous health and environmental consequences.

To avert these pressing water and sanitation issues, the Minister said, there was a need to implement policies and programmes aimed at improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene services.

He noted that increased Investment in water infrastructure was also of importance, as it would impact significantly on other sectors and improve the economy of the nation.

Utsev said, the Ministry has developed several initiatives in partnership with government at all levels and critical Stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector, aimed at improving funding for water resources projects and programmes, increasing resource mobilization, and enhancing investment in water infrastructure.

While highlighting the impact of the initiatives, he said, under the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (PEWASH) Programmes which was aimed at increasing access to water supply in rural areas as well as sanitation in public places, 2,190 boreholes were constructed to serve 2,006,250 persons with 3,001,578 litres/day.

On Sustainable Urban-Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH), he said, the Ministry, with support from the World Bank, launched the Programme to increase access to water supply in Urban, Small Towns, and Rural Areas as well as strengthen Sector Institutions in the participating States.

He stated that the National WASH Action Plan was developed by the Ministry to address the low and poor access to WASH services in the country, noting that so far, the Ministry had constructed 6,761 water schemes in the urban, semi-urban and rural areas of the country for the water supply needs of about 32 million people.

“Under the sanitation sub-sector, 10,568 sanitation facilities were constructed in institutions and public places in 127 Local Government Areas to serve 550,820 persons.

“The 2021 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routing Mapping (WASHNORM) III reported a national access to basic drinking water supply services of 67% and access to basic sanitation services of 46%”, he added.

Giving an update on Clean Nigeria Campaign to end open defecation by 2025, the Minister announced that since assumption of office, the Ministry has “secured additional 15 ODF LGAs in five (5) States of the Federation, and as of today, 120 LGAs across the country are Open Defecation Free (ODF) with Jigawa State having earlier attained the Statewide ODF in Nigeria”

Prof. Utsev emphasised that the challenges related to water resources management must be addressed to ensure country-wide access, adequacy, and sustainability, calling for a balance of society’s water needs by ensuring that at-risk groups such as; women, our Indigenous Peoples, Differently-Abled Persons (DAP’s) and youths are not marginalised.

Earlier, the UNESCO representative in Nigeria, Abdourahamane Diallo, in his speech noted that this year’s World Water Day was aimed at tackling water crisis, adding that availability of water sustains economic growth.

On his part, the Community Representative, Mr. Phillis Babawa applauded the minister and LG for choosing the community for the project.

The highlight of the event was the Road Walk from the Ministry Headquarters, Area 1 through Old Parade Ground to Chelsea Hotel, and the Commissioning of Solar Borehole at Durumi 3 Community in Gudu, Abuja.

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