By Tosin Kolade
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has pledged the commitment of the Federal Government toward improving access to potable water for all Nigerians.
Adamu said this at a news conference in commemoration of the 2021 World Water Day with the Theme: “Value Water’’ on Monday in Abuja.
According to him, the essence of World Water Day, which is usually celebrated on March 22, is to galvanise action towards active response to water crisis.
He said it was also to seek out innovative measures to improve access to potable water supply, all in the aim of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), water and sanitation for all by 2030.
“Water for all implies that the elderly, disabled, marginalised and poor people get access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation in line with SDG 6.1 and SDG 6.2, whoever you are, wherever you are, you have a right to water.
“The UN recognises access to water as a human right which entitles everyone without discrimination to sufficient, safe, acceptable and affordable water for personal and domestic uses.
“These include water for drinking, sanitation, food preparation, personal and household hygiene,” he said.
Adamu said that to ensure the sustainability on water value, there was need to put in place the principle of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), saying this would promote and coordinate the development of the commodity and other related resources.
He said that the Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC) was set up to ensure the operationalisation of IWRM in the sector.
He reiterated some of the challenges threatening the value of water, adding that there was an urgent need to conserve the essential commodity to avoid its scarcity.
The Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, Ms Evelyn Mere, said that more that 60 million Nigerians do not have access to potable water and called on the government to prioritise the commodity to keep its value.
She said that climate change had contributed adversely to clean water access and had continued to put more pressure on water resources that were already overstretched due to inadequate infrastructure and poor management.
“Without easy access to clean water, peoples’ lives are blighted by sickness, poverty and endless drudgery of collecting water.
“The hours spent collecting water, or the time needed to recover from waterborne illnesses caused by dirty water, rob off entirely on the community.
“WaterAid is calling on government at sub-national and national level to prioritise water in their climate plans and address current and future threat to water access,” Mere stressed.
“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.’’ (NAN)