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Environmental Issues, Access to Water and Quality of Life in Nigeria: The Role of Economic Policy

Environmental Issues, Access to Water and Quality of Life in Nigeria: The Role of Economic Policy


Abstract: The intricate relationship between the environment and water resources and how access to water affects quality of life have been key development issues at the global level since the turn of this century. Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals was meant to ensure environmental sustainability, with Target 7C specifically concerned with reducing by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by the year 2015. While it is true that MDG7, in terms of its targets, was largely achieved at the global level, at the individual country level, many developing countries were still far from meeting the target by 2015. This explains why environmental sustainability is still a core pillar of the post-MDG development agenda, as encapsulated in Goal 6 of the Universal Sustainable Development Goals. This paper examines the link between the environment and water resources in Nigeria. It profiles the country’s water resources as well as the various policy measures that have been adopted over the years by the various governments in the bid to broaden access to water for productive and consumptive uses. The effectiveness of the various policy measures was also assessed by using a sub-component of the Africa Infrastructure Development Index within a regional comparative frame. The results suggested that Nigeria still lags behind such ECOWAS countries like Cape Verde, Gambia and Senegal in terms of access to water and sanitation services. The major factors militating against the development of the country’s water resources towards the achievement of environmental sustainability and better quality of life for the people were identified, on the basis of which suggestions were made on the way forward. Key amongst these are the need to encourage private participation in the water resources sector and the adoption of the Integrated Water Resources Planning model as the core planning framework for sensible exploitation of the country’s water resources.

JEL classification: Q25, Q53, Q56, Q58

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