The United Nation’s (UN) World Water Day is held annually on 22nd of March and the aim is to underline the importance of water as well as advocate for the sustainable management of water resources. The theme for the 2019 World Water Day was “Leave no one behind”. The theme adapts the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development such that as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.
Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. By definition, this means leaving no one behind. But today, billions of people are still living without safe water – their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggling to survive and thrive.
According to UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in his 2019 World Water Day message, our bodies, our cities and our industries, our agriculture and our ecosystems all depend on water. He further mentioned that water is a human right hence nobody should be denied access.
In commemoration of the World Water Day, NOIPolls Nigeria released findings from its past poll on access to clean water which was conducted in partnership with WaterAid in 2018. The poll gauged the perception of Nigerians regarding their access to water; accessibility of clean water to Nigerians, the quality and treatment of drinking water and the types of challenges faced in accessing clean water. Findings from the poll revealed that borehole is the primary source of water for a larger proportion of Nigerians both for domestic use (50 percent) and drinking (37 percent).
According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), this source of water supply is mainly classified as an improved source of water supply. While it falls under the purview of government at all levels through the Ministry of Water resources to provide water, the reverse is the case as Nigerians provide their own water through the construction of boreholes. This alternative source of water appears to constitute a looming danger for Nigerians as most of these boreholes are exposed to underground pathogens and pollutants especially E-coli which cause diarrhoeal diseases, which are also contributing factors to malnutrition and child mortality.
More findings from the opinion poll also revealed that 66 percent of Nigerians do not treat their water in any form before drinking regardless of the source, mainly because they believe the water is good enough to drink (16 percent). On the other hand, 34 percent who treat their water before drinking it mostly adopt boiling (49 percent) the water as a method of purification. On access to clean water, 37 percent of Nigerians lamented over the challenges they face in accessing clean water in their households and the negative impacts this has on their spending and health.
According to the World Bank, accessing clean water is a major factor in reducing child mortality. In Nigeria alone, around 60, 000 children under the age of five die each year from diseases caused by the nation’s poor levels of access to water, sanitation and hygiene. Therefore, it is imperative that the three tiers of government, stakeholders and international support agencies 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.
Although the water we drink might appear clean, it most likely contains some harmful microorganism. Findings from this report revealed that majority (66 percent) of Nigerians do not treat the water they drink. This cuts across both gender, age-groups and a further analysis by geo-political zones showed that the North-East zone had the highest (73 percent) proportion of Nigerians who do not treat their water prior to drinking.
On the other hand, 34 percent of respondents claimed that they treat their water to make it suitable for drinking. The South-West zone had the largest (48 percent) percentage of respondents who stated this.

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