The National President, Nigerian Association of Hydro geologists (NAH)Mr Charles Olumese, says Nigeria has high prevalence of water-borne diseases as only 40 per cent of its population has access to clean water.
Olumese told the News men in Ibadan that most of the statistics about access to safe and portable water in Nigeria were mere political statements as there were many communities, especially rural dwellers, that lacked access to safe water for their domestic needs.
He was speaking just as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Water Day, which holds every March 22.
“We should be conscious, more advocacy, more enlightenment, so that the little that the government has been able to do with the meagre resources available to her can be better utilized.
“Otherwise we are going to get to a crisis situation; what will happen is that you will have a situation where you have more water borne diseases, you are going to have a situation where you are not going to have enough water because there is no aspect of human life that does not require water. So if we miss-use the little we have we are creating problem for tomorrow.”
According to him, people in Nigeria need to know the value of water, hence the need to stop the abuse of the little available portable water in the country.
“Many of us do not know that wholesome water comes at a cost and there is a lot of wastage with attendant scarcity,” he said.
The NAH president emphasized the need to sensitize children to the importance of water as they were more prone to abusing the use of water.
“If from the cradle a child is made to realise that water is not just one more commodity that you can use the way you like without reference to a cost attached to it, we will be moving ahead because once a habit is formed it is difficult to change.
“So we start from home to school and then the media should help in highlighting the dangers in miss-use of such vital resources.” The hydro-geologist added.
Olumese expressed regret that water pollution in the country was being perpatrated with apparent disregard and reckless abandon.
“Look at our mechanic workshops, auto electricians and so on people discard batteries: car batteries, heavy duty batteries, acid, lead, just like that and lead poisoning is a killer any day.
“Look at our refuse disposal areas in our cities; you will discover that all those things that are deposited there with time they shift down to the underground water and pollute it.
“In the oil industry we have pipelines being breeched on a daily basis; oil being spilled into water bodies and no effort is being made for remediation,” he said.
The hydro-geologist further stated that if what obtained in Nigeria was happening in other developed countries of the world, efforts would have been made to urgently address it in order not to destroy the ecosystem.
He noted that people were effectively using irrigation in states like Edo to dispose of untreated flood water.
“This is the challenge we have; people are not conscious of it and so they don’t know the health implication of their action,” he said.
The expert stated that if Nigeria was sincere, honest and prudent in the management of resources, the Lake Chad challenge would have been adequately addressed.
Nigeria’s theme for the 2018 World Water Day is “Sustainable water resources development in Nigeria: meeting the Lake Chad challenge