Nigeria has enormous quantity of water resources, surface and underground, that requires a well-articulated administrative structure that can manage the resources effectively. The present position of water supply in Nigeria is grossly inadequate. The Federal, States and Local Governments have over the years been intervening from time to time in terms of the provision of potable water to the people through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), River Basin Authorities, DFRRI, National Water Supply Rehabilitation Project, National Borehole programme and of course, the present government‘s Legislative Boreholes. Despite these efforts, potable water supply is still poor and grossly inadequate. In reality, the problem of water supply in Nigeria is enormous and can only be solved through properly coordinated approach so as to overcome the problem.
According to Babatola (1997), Offodile (2003, 2006), Nwankwoala &Mmom (2008), water supply lies at the heart of development whether it is urban or rural. Water supply and development of any nation are continuing long-term process which requires careful planning and implementation geared towards achieving improved conditions of life. Consequently, there should be an overhaul/review of the existing water policy or a new national water policy that would involve a comprehensive hydro geological mapping of the country. The exercise must be based on known groundwater and surface water sources (Mobogunje, 1975).
According to Uwais, (2004) man cannot survive longer without food than water. But because water is freely available through rainfall, man has until fairly recently, taken this unique resources for granted.
Although more than 70% of the earth surface is water, water has become a scarce commodity in many part of the world. The threat of a world water crisis becoming increasingly real in the face of increase demand, relatively statistic supply and deteriorating
quality due to over exploitation. It is universally accepted that an adequate supply of water for drinking, personal hygiene and other domestic purposes is essential to public health and wellbeing. It is well known fact that large number of people in Nigeria mostly those in rural area lack safe portable drinking water, in about 90% of the rural communities in Nigeria are lacking portable for their domestic activities. (uwais, 2004)
As stakeholders in water and sanitation business converged on the Hague, Netherland on march 22 to mark the 2013 edition of the world water day, the authorities at Niger State ministry of water resources dedicate the day to takes stocks of it achievement and to marshal out ways of improving on it effort of tackling the challenges of supplying portable water to the 4.5 million people spread across the 25 Local Government Area of the state.
The ministry also embarks on other semi-urban water supply schemes in the state and introducing mini water scheme in Kuta, Madaka, Mashegu, Agwara, Lemu and Kata eregi. It produces several borehole rigs for drilling of borehole in communities and trains some of it staff on water related issues both locally and abroad. The state has also brought several water supply vehicles and distributed some to the 25 Local Government Areas for distribution of water to communities known to be facing water shortages which has aimed to reduce the problem of water scarcity in these communities.
At the global scene, there has been continuing efforts in respect of sustainable management of water resources. The Earth Summit, the World Water Commission, the World Water Forum as well as other water related projects of Global Water Partnership, such as World Bank, WHO, UNESCO, FAO, UNICEF and UNDP, have been at the forefront in the timely efforts of water resources management, especially in the provision of safe drinking water and basic sanitation which is within the frameworks of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In the early 1950s, government‘s has attempted to develop groundwater by exploring the ground water potentials across the country. This led to
construction of hand dug shallow wells especially in rural areas. The Nigerian government’s major intervention in water resources development came during the first National Development Plan (1962 – 1968) which saw the establishment of the River Niger and Lake Chad Basin Commissions. In 1973 and 1974, the Sokoto-Rima and Chad Basin Authorities were established. In 1976, the river basin authorities were increased to eleven (11) to cover the whole country. But, before then in 1975, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) was created. Following the creation of the ministry, extensive water resources development (both surface and groundwater) was embarked upon to boost economic activities such as irrigation, fisheries as well as hydropower generation. More importantly, all these giant strides were aimed at improving water supply delivery in line with the United Nation‘s International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (IDWSSD, 1981 – 1990). Beside these noble efforts, the Federal Government embarked upon other numerous intervention programs in the water sector, including the National Borehole Project (1980), Department of Food, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) in 1986 -1994, The Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF) Rural Water Supply Project (1995-1999), Improved National Access to Water Supply (1999) and lastly the Senate Constituency Water Projects (2001 to date) (Nwankwoala, 2010).
Drinking water or potable water is water safe enough to be consumed by humans or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the tap water supplied to households, commerce and industry meets the water quality standards to qualify as potable, even though only a very small proportion is actually consumed or used in food preparation. Typical uses other than drinking and cooking include washing, toilet flushing, and irrigation (USEPA,2010).
Due to high level of poverty in Nigeria, safe portable drinking water is a scarce resource especially in rural areas. It is against this background that this study seeks to assess the accessibility of portable water In Bida local Government area of Niger state.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Over 90% of deaths from diarrheal diseases in the developing world today occur in children under 5 years old (Salman 2004). Malnutrition, especially protein-energy malnutrition, can decrease the children’s resistance to infections, including water-related diarrheal diseases. From 2000-2003, 769,000 children under five years old in sub-Saharan Africa died each year from diarrheal diseases. As a result of only thirty-six percent of the population in the sub-Saharan region have access to proper means of sanitation. More than 2000 children’s lives are lost every day. In South Asia, 683,000 children under five years old died each year from diarrheal disease from 2000-2003. During the same time period, in developed countries, 700 children under five years old died from diarrheal disease. Safe drinking water is therefore a prerequisite for good health.(USEPE2010).
Therefore improved portable water supply reduces the frequency of water related illness and deaths, especially in area like Bida local government area.
Therefore it is essential to find out;
1. What is the source of water supply in Bida Local Government?
2. Are these sources of water supply safe for drinking and other domestic uses?
3. Was there any effort made by Niger State and Bida local Government council in improving water supply in the study area?
These form the research Question that will be pursued in this study.
1.2 AIM AND OBJECTIVES