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25 March 2021

WORLD WATER DAY 2021: CSDP Unlocking Access to Clean Water in Nigeria

CSDP has assisted rural poor communities with 4,562 water micro projects in terms of solar powered boreholes, hand pump boreholes, water reticulation systems and water conservation points. - Dr. Obaje

March 22 every year is observed as the World Water day. And this year 2021 was no different despite the presence of COVID 19.  It is a day set aside by the United Nations, (UN) to focus attention on water by inviting stake- holders; governments, NGOs, corporate bodies, and individuals to create awareness on the need for safe water. The UN resolution 64/292 recognized water as a human right and key to the realization of all human rights. Indeed, Water is life!

The World Bank says over 663 million people globally are still without improved drinking water sources. While the UN  2019 Water Report sadly stated that one in every three persons in the world lacks access to safe water and majority of these are in the developing countries. Inadequate access to safe water has health implications especially water borne diseases and reduces productivity. In the olden days, water attracted settlements, lack of it now is causing crisis. With scarce sources of water, there are now new migration away from dry places
No wonder, President Muhammadu Buhari in agreeing to the fundamental need for safe water, declared a “state of emergency in water supply” in 2018 and since then government has stepped up in its efforts at increased access to safe water. 


In Nigeria, one silent yet salient effort of government at provision of safe water in rural communities is bringing smiles to rural dwellers who hitherto had more access to soft drinks than to safe water. Today, these communities have safe water through assistance from the World Bank supported Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) which is active in 30 states of the federation and the FCT. The project coordinated by the Federal Project Support Unit and jointly financed by the World Bank, Federal, FCT and state Governments have made tremendous strides in assisting rural poor communities with access to clean water. 

According to the National Coordinator of CSDP, Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje, the CSDP has assisted rural poor communities with 4,562 water micro projects in terms of solar powered boreholes, hand pump boreholes, water reticulation systems and water conservation points.    

The theme of the 2021 world water day is “Valuing Water”. Water means different thing to different people, yet the saying “Water is Life” is uniquely and unanimously agreed globally.  This is evident in the implementation of the CSDP which gives the people the power to choose what they want in a development model named CDD.  

There is no better time to value water than now. It is essential in fighting COVID 19 pandemic.  The World Health Organization says washing of hands is key in pushing COVID 19 far away from us. That safe water reduces many health challenges like Cholera, Diarrhea, and typhoid.  Provision of safe water is not the exclusive of government. NGOs and other non-state actors and individuals can assist in the provision of clean water. Importantly too, individuals with access to clean water must maintain it by always closing the tap to avoid wastage. 

Any five-hundred-naira investment in clean water, an average of One Thousand, Five Hundred Naira is gained in saved medical cost and therefore increased productivity. In fact, a study by Hutton et al 2015, puts it that in rural areas, it is even higher as three thousand five hundred naira is returned in saved medical costs for every N500 investment in clean water. 

An Intermediate Outcome Evaluation study for the CSDP in 2020, revealed that because of CSDP intervention, there is a reduction of average distance to water source from 3 kilometers to about 600 metres while the average time spent for fetching water has reduced from 53 minutes to less than 12 minutes, these no doubt has increased productivity in these communities. There is also reduction in cost of water. 

The message from world leaders and scientists on the 2021 World Water Day, is that the world needs more clean water, the good news for us is that the Nigeria COVID 19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme Result Area 1, supports the provision of safe water. So, by the time the two years emergency NG-CARES ends, more people in Nigeria would have had increased access to safe water.  

Suleiman Odapu
Information and Communication Officer