Almost half of the Nigerian population cannot access clean water

Abuja, Nigeria. February 25, 2013 - Latest weekly poll results released by NOI Polls has revealed that access to clean water remains a major challenge to almost half of the populace (47%). In addition, 83% of Nigerians source their drinking water privately, while only about 1 in 10 respondents (9%) are connected to the public sewerage system. These were the three key findings from the Access to Clean Water Snap poll done in the week of February 18th 2013.
 
The Nigerian government in January 2011 launched the ‘water road-map’, a blueprint that describes the government’s objectives in developing the nation’s water resources between 2011 and 2015.  The plan includes the promise that 75% of Nigerians will have access to clean water by 2015.  Increasing access to safe drinking water is a key millennium development goal (MDG).  Lack of access to water leads to a high prevalence of waterborne diseases, and all over the world, approximately 3 million children under five years old die yearly from diarrheal illnesses, mostly acquired from contaminated water. With the just concluded Presidential Summit on Water which held between the 18th and 19th of February 2013, NOI Polls sought the opinion of Nigerians regarding access to water and sanitary facilities.
 
It is our hope that the results of this snap poll will contribute to the discourse of providing increasing access of water to Nigerians.
 
The NOI Polls survey asked people five specific questions. The first question sought to establish the source of drinking water in households. Respondents were asked: How do you currently get drinking water at home? Results indicate that the majority (27%) by a slight margin currently drink sachet water commonly referred to as ‘pure water’. Another 25% get drinking water at home from private boreholes, and 19% drink bottled, packaged water. Other sources are the Water board/Government (11%), public bore holes (6%) and private wells (5%). 

 

These results show that the majority of people in Nigeria (83% overall) source their drinking water privately, as opposed to depending on the State.  The safety of these sources of water is questionable, particularly ‘pure water’ of which its treatment and subsequent sale is still a major point of contention between NAFDAC and the manufacturers.
This result contradicts the claims of Nigeria’s Ministry of Water Resources, which stated that 58% of the country’s population has access to safe drinking water as provided by the Government.
 
Respondents were subsequently asked: Is access to clean water a challenge to you and your household? A slight majority (53%) responded negatively, showing that access to clean water is not a challenge.  The remaining 47% of respondents surveyed stated that access to clean water is indeed a challenge to them and their households.
 
When responses are further analyzed across geo political zones, access to clean water is a greater challenge in the North East and North West than in other geo political zones in Nigeria. This is in line with an assertion made by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that the water problem is particularly acute in the rural Northern Nigeria; where only about 30% of the population has access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

 

Respondents who stated that access to clean water is a challenge to them and their households (47% of the total) were further asked: To what extent is the access to clean water a challenge to your household?  Results indicate that the slight majority overall (33%) say access to clean water is a challenge to a very large extent. This is closely followed by respondents who state that it is a challenge to a large extent and to a little extent (31% each). A meager 6% said it is a challenge to a very little extent.
 
Once again, analyzing across geo-political zones shows that the challenge is most pronounced in the North West since it has the highest proportion of respondents (41%) who state that it is a challenge to a very large extent. Also, the North East has the highest proportion of respondents who state that access to clean water is a challenge to a very little extent. This is interesting since the North East had a high proportion of respondents who said access to water is a challenge in response to the previous question, thus indicating a probable less challenge there than in the North West.

 

Next, respondents were asked: What type of sanitation facilities (toilet) do you currently have at your home? The overwhelming majority (79%) stated that they have toilets connected to private septic tanks. This is followed by 11% who use pit latrines, and 9% who claim they have toilets connected to public sewerage.

 

Viewing results across geo-political zones, the Southern regions and North-Central have the highest proportion of respondents with toilets connected to private septic tanks. Also, the North-Central and South-West have the highest proportion of respondents that have toilets connected to public sewerage; which is in line with previous findings by UNDP that mostly Abuja and limited areas of Lagos have public sewerage system. The North-East has the highest proportion of respondents who use a pit latrine for their sanitation (48%) followed by the North-West with 33%.

Finally, respondents were asked: Are you aware of any water and sanitation-related projects going on in your locality? The majority (88%) answered “No” indicating that they are not aware of any water and sanitation projects in their locality. Only 10% of the respondents said they are aware of water and sanitation projects going on in their locality.

 

In conclusion, results highlights that access to clean water and sanitation remains a major challenge for most Nigerians, but more pronounced in the North-West and North-East regions of the country. Also in spite of several projects currently being undertaken by development partners and multilateral organisations such as UNICEF, USAID, WaterAid, UNDP and World Bank, there is very low awareness of such projects among Nigerians.
 
Survey Methods
The opinion poll was conducted on February 18th to 19th 2013. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,072 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 4%. NOI Polls Limited is Nigeria’s leading opinion polling and research organisation, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com
 
Disclaimer
This press release has been produced by NOI Polls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOI Polls be acknowledged as author whenever our poll results are used, cited or published.
 
NOI Polls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOI Polls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOI Polls’ current findings and/or thinking.
 

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