The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on Monday, March 19 urged all water producers to adhere to the Water Safety Plan Concept to promote the provision of potable water for all Nigerians.
Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, SON’s Acting Director, Standard Development, made the call in an interview with the media in Abuja.
She said that the call was imperative to reduce risks and manage water supply from source to consumption points.
The Water Safety Plan Concept, which was developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), was included in its Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality in 2004.
Egwuonwu said that the organization had set standards for different types of water, adding that the standards were reviewed in 2015 to take cognizance of certain factors such as relevance and change of practices.
She said that the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality and the Standard for Potable Water had been harmonized to promote the safety of drinking water in homes and boreholes as well as packaged water in the country.
She said that the implementation of these standards in offices around the country had commenced to ensure that water facilities complied with the overall goal of expanding the people’s access to potable water and preventing water-borne diseases.
Egwuonwu said that the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP), which was meant for locally manufactured goods, had ensured that locally made products complied with set standards, adding that a large number of products had been certified under the programme.
The acting director said that SON was inspecting facilities which had boreholes, such as bottling companies and water production outfits, in order to ascertain the kinds of safe practices and standards they followed.
She said that water samples were being collected to test the water quality, in efforts to determine how the location of a water source could affect the quality of its water.
Egwuonwu added if anomalies were found, the affected water production organization would be advised to relocate to safer places.
She, however, urged the federal and state ministries of water resources, state water agencies to adhere to the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality in order to promote the citizens’ access to safe water.
The Federal Ministry of Water Resources recently inaugurated the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality to promote the availability of safe drinking water for all Nigerians.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, then said that the availability of reliable and clean supply of water was the focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality sets certain limits for water contaminants that are hazardous to health and also provide guides to meeting the mandatory limits for safe water.
Quoting a WHO report, Adamu said that it was estimated that about 60 per cent of all diseases in developing countries were related to the consumption of unsafe water and poor sanitation.
He said that diseases related to drinking water contamination represented a major burden on human health, calling for immediate interventions from all relevant stakeholders to improve the provision of drinking water for the benefit of all Nigerians.
The minister said that although Nigeria had recorded an improvement in the citizens’ access to improved water supply with the current access standing at 67 per cent, efforts would be intensified to meet Goal Six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
He said that it was saddening that not much had been achieved with regard to enforcement of standards, noting that water producers still carried on their business as usual without due regard to the quality of the water they produced.