The Minister for Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, has assured Nigerians that the implementation of the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality would support and safeguard public health.
Ochekpe, represented by Mr Umar Farouk, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, gave the assurance at a two- day Technical Committee meeting on the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality.
The meeting was organized by the Department of Water Quality and Sanitation Control, Ministry of Water Resources in collaboration with the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality was approved in April, 2007, to regulate drinking water quality in the country.
The standard was approved by the Governing Council (Standards Council).
She said the goal of the water quality standard was to protect the sources of drinking water in the country.
“The goal of the standard is to protect the drinking water from catchments source to its use by consumers.
“Water quality standard is very crucial as it sets out the maximum parameters necessary to safeguard the health of the populace.
“It is the goal of the government to provide safe water that will easily be accessible to the people.’’
According to her, water quality is declining due to human activities, increasing population, rapid urbanization, discharge of new pathogens and chemicals from industries and agriculture.
She added that climate change was another factor that affected the quality of water citing the disastrous flood of 2012 as an example.
Ochekpe noted that the ministry had made efforts to implement and enforce standards through the construction of six water quality testing laboratories.
She called on Nigerians to collaborate with relevant government agencies to ensure strict compliance with water quality standards for individual and collective good.
The Director General, Standards Organization of Nigeria, Dr Joseph Odumodu, represented by Mr. Louis Njoku, Director Standards said the standard was meant to ensure the protection of consumers.
He said the standard contained mandatory limits concerning water contaminants that are known as hazardous to health or give rise to complaints from consumers.
“It includes set of procedures and good practices required to meet mandatory limits and covers all drinking water except mineral water and packaged water.
“ The standard also defines roles and responsibilities for various stakeholders’ which will enhance implementation of the specifications and proper water quality surveillance and regulation in the country.’’
Odumodu said, it was imperative for stakeholders’ like the Federal Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and other agencies to make enough budgetary allocations for the implementation of the standard.
He added that it was expected that the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality would hasten the process of upgrading non protected water systems.
He also said it would improve the management of all drinking water systems in the country.
According to him, the standard is due for review since 2011; however, the ongoing evaluation of the standard should ensure it remains relevant as standard are ‘living documents’.