ACCESS TO WATER POLL: More Than 6 in 10 Nigerians Still Have Challenge In Access Water

Abuja, Nigeria. March 23rd, 2021 – In commemoration of World Water Day, which holds on the 22nd of March annually, NOIPolls conducted a new public opinion poll on access to water. The poll explored the accessibility of water to Nigerians, the treatment of drinking water and challenges faced in accessing water.

The poll revealed that 62 percent of Nigerian households especially Nigerians from the North-Central zone reported that access to water (both for drinking and household use) is still a major challenge to them. It is important to state that it is the responsibility of the Federal, State and Local Government to supply water to Nigerians. For instance, the Local Government is responsible for rural water supply, the State Government is responsibly for urban water supply while the Federal Government is in charge of water resource management.

More finding from the poll revealed that borehole (57 percent) and well water (25 percent) are the primary sources of water for Nigerians for domestic use. According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), this source of water supply is mainly classified as an improved source of water supply.[1] Also, a significant proportion of Nigerians (56 percent) identified sachet water, popularly known as ‘Pure water’ as the major source of drinking water in their homes. While this source of drinking water might be affordable and easily accessible to Nigerians, its hygiene and quality has been questioned by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) especially due to the process of packaging. This has led to the closure of several sachet water factories by NAFDAC in the past.[2]

Subsequently, the poll further revealed that 73 percent of Nigerians do not treat their water in any form before drinking regardless of the source. However, 27 percent who treat their water before drinking it mostly adopt boiling (54 percent) the water as a method of purification. According to the World Bank, accessing clean water is a major factor in reducing child mortality. In Nigeria, about 60, 000 children under the age of five die each year from diseases caused by poor levels of access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

It is interesting to note that 69 percent of Nigerians reported that they use more water since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria. While 15 percent stated that they use more water because more household member stay at home at the same time, 6 percent mentioned that they use more water specifically to wash their hands in line with COVID-19 preventive guidelines.

With regards to ongoing water projects, a larger proportion of Nigerians (86 percent) disclosed that there are no water projects currently being implemented in their various communities. Therefore, in order to meet the 6th Goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all, government at all levels needs to urgently work towards the provision of improved quality of water and water sources to the citizenry. For instance, the three tiers of government, stakeholders and international support agencies should synergize their plans and strategies to ensure that all Nigerians have access to clean potable water in their homes by reviving all water boards across all states in the country and resuscitating dormant water plants. These are the key highlights from the Access To Water Poll conducted in the week commencing March, 15th 2021.

Survey Background

The World Water Day is a day set aside by the United Nations to commemorate the importance of freshwater to inhabitants of the world and to also identify challenges experienced by people around the world regarding access to water. The Day is held on 22nd March every year since 1993 when it was first observed. One of the importance of the world water day is to raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people all around the world living without water with the view of finding viable ways of providing water to these inhabitants of the world. Additionally, the core focus of the World Water Day is to focus on to the support of the achievement of sustainable development Goal 6: “Water and sanitation for all by 2030”. It is worthy of note also to state that 1 in 3 people in the world live without drinking water and by 2050, it is estimated by the UN that 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce for at least one month a year[3].

The theme for this year 2021 is “valuing water” in which the global body seek to underscore the value of water to everyone. It can be boldly stated that the value of water is about much more than its price-water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. We can further add that if we risk this value of water, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource giving for our general and ultimate use. To make the Day memorable, people and organizations mark World Water Day every year by taking action to tackle the water crisis affecting people in various ways than one. The celebration aims to create awareness of water and its resources which are crucial for the survival of living beings on earth and without which life on Earth becomes difficult and thereby making the Earth Inhabitable[4].

There are various classes if water in the world which is defined mostly by its usage and importance to people around the world. The list is inexhaustible and as it keeps growing depending on the newly discovered usage water can be put in to and the mode of discovery of the type of water. They include and not limited to: tap water which is piped water, mineral water gotten from mineral spring and full of minerals like sulfur, magnesium and calcium. Sparkling water sometimes referred to as carbonated or soda water, Distilled water which is gotten from boiled water and the steam is collected and condensed into a liquid, purified water which is usually tap or underground water which has been treated to remove harmful substances like bacteria, fungi and parasites. Others include: flavored or infused water, alkaline water, well water etc.[5]. Against this backdrop, NOIPolls conducted a survey to gauge the pulse of Nigerians regarding access to water and the various challenges people are facing regarding water.

Survey findings

When asked of the main source of water for household use, 57 percent of Nigerians disclosed that their primary source of water for household use is borehole. The South-East zone had more respondents who reported that their main source of water for household use is borehole. While 25 percent of the respondents mentioned well water especially those residing in the North-Central zone (34 percent), 14 percent said that they use tap water for household use and this is common with Nigerians residing in the North-West (18 percent).

Trend analysis revealed an 6 percent increase in the proportion of Nigerians who rely on borehole as their main source of water for household use when current finding is compared to result obtained in 2020.

Subsequently, according to a report from United Nations (UN) Water Global Analysis, an estimated 100 million Nigerians still lack basic sanitation facilities and 63 million do not have access to improved source of drinking water.[6] In line with the above report, this poll result revealed that a major proportion of Nigerians (56 percent) rely on Sachet water popularly known as pure water as the primary source of drinking water. The South-West zone (68 percent) represented the larger proportion of Nigerians who asserted to this.

It is interesting to note that 73 of the respondents do not treat their water before drinking (except for those whose only source of drinking water is sachet water). However, 27 percent of respondents stated that they treat their water before drinking.

While water has an enormous and complex value for our households, culture, health, education, economics and integrity of our natural environment, more than two billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress and Nigeria accounts for one of such countries despite being blessed with surplus water resources.[7]

Given the above, 62 percent of Nigerian households reported that they have challenge in access water both for drinking and household use and the North-Central zone (71 percent) had more respondents who mentioned this. On the contrary, 38 percent of the respondent indicated that they do not have challenge in accessing water.

Trend analysis reveals a significant 23 percent increase in the proportion of Nigerians who affirmed having chanlenge in accessing water in their community when current finding is compared the result obtained in 2020.

With the rising pollution of water resources and demand for water due to increasing population, it is imperative that water is proved to every community is Nigeria. In line with this, is unpleasant to note that only 14 percent of Nigerians disclosed that they are ongoing water projects in their various communities while the vast majority (86 percent) stated otherwise.

The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reminds every one of the importance of having access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities yet many people are without them.[8] In line with this, majority of Nigerians (69 percent) indicated that they use more water since the outbreak of COVID-19. This assertion cut across gender, geographical locations and age-groups. However, 31 percent of respondents stated that they did not use more water since the outbreak.

Nigerians who admitted that they used more water since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country were further probed and the top three reason cited are health conditions (31 percent), increased washing (19 percent) and frequent showers/bath (17 percent). Other reasons include increased usage because more people stay at home (17 percent) and constant washing of hands (6 percent) amongst other reasons highlighted.

Nigerians who admitted that they used more water since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country were further probed and the top three reason cited are health conditions (31 percent), increased washing (19 percent) and frequent showers/bath (17 percent). Other reasons include increased usage because more people stay at home (17 percent) and constant washing of hands (6 percent) amongst other reasons highlighted.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the poll results have clearly revealed that a larger proportion of Nigerians rely on sachet water (56 percent) popularly known as pure water as their primary source of drinking water and borehole water (57 percent) as their main source of water for household use. This implies that access to water is still a challenge to most Nigerians. Therefore, the right of every Nigerian to have sufficient access to water for personal, domestic use and maintaining public health cannot be overemphasized. The inability to access clean water leads to water related disease such as typhoid, cholera etc. which in turn has a negative impact on the society at large. Finally, it is great important that three tiers government and other stakeholders ensure that water is made available to Nigerians as 62 percent reported that access to water (both for drinking and household use) is a challenge to their communities.

Survey Method

The poll was conducted in the week commencing March 15th, 2021. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 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 4.65%.

NOIPolls Limited, is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com or download our mobile app NOIPolls on your smartphone.

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls 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 NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls 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 NOIPolls 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 NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] https://washdata.org/monitoring/drinking-water

[2] https://www.sunnewsonline.com/nafdac-to-shutdown-compromising-sachet-water-companies/

[3] https://www.un.org/en/observances/water-day

[4] https://www.indiatoday.in/information/story/world-water-day-2021-date-theme-significance-and-quotes-1782108-2021-03-22

[5] https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/nine-types-of-drinking-water#alkaline

[6] https://bit.ly/394qsmF

[7] https://bit.ly/3cc3vjq

[8] https://bit.ly/3rgT7Lb