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An evaluation of the possible methods of water provision in Northern Nigeria.

| April 7, 2014


Preliminary from the analysis already held by most academic that water should be regarded as an economically and socially significant. This report presents some of the accounts undertaken by a group of both international and local academicians for the possible methods of water provision to the arid region of northern Nigeria.


The main objectives of this report are:

  • To examines and evaluates the possible methods of water provision to the arid region of northern Nigeria.
  • Offers some recommendation for water policy about the most reliable methods of water provision, thereby describing; clarifying the Changes that need to be made.

1.2 Background to the Development of a Water Supply Policy.

The climatic condition of the north eastern part of Nigeria is such that it is not easy for yearly and other plants to produce due to limiting factors as water (Oxford Business Group, 2010).

The northern region, specifically the northeast arid district of northern Nigeria according to Bermingham (2000) is monopolised by a low annual rainfall determined in only three months. The average annual rainfall in the northern Nigeria ranges from 500-750 millimetres and it always not the same; is extremely unpredictable, due to the fact that most of it falls as severe, often with, extreme variability, storms (Mathews 2002), In other, the vegetation is sparse and the grasses are very short.

Precisely, according to the SLGP consultant’s report carried out by Fullbrook et al in the year 2005, they made the emphases that Kano State of the northern Nigeria don’t have a policy for water and therefore there are needs for improving the sustainable provisions of water .Furthermore, they claimed that the water supply condition in Kano State is poor and has been deteriorating for many years in both the urban and rural areas due to speedy in the population growth and ineffective attitudes to water supply provision, combined with inadequate funding. Inadequate supply has enormous effects for the health of the inhabitants. Water is ostensibly free in rural areas but people in urban areas are charged for it. Also because the the approach of the government towards water supply has always been top down with no input into planning decisions from citizens. Water supply has factually been viewed by a large part of the population and by many politicians as a social service (Fullbrook, et al 2005)

1.3 The Water Situation of the region

The population of the states in the northern region of Nigeria are growing rapidly. According to Fullbrook et al (2005), precisely in the Kano state, the population and the water supply statistics state one of the northern states of Nigeria. As of the calculations presented in the table, 44% of the population has access to potable water. Therefor the table according to them specifies that  in the order of 4.8 million to 6.7 million people in Kano State are don’t have enough water supply as shown on the table below:

Table 1: Population and Water Supply Statistics


S/No. Objects Low Value High Value
1 Estimated total state population 8,600,000 12,000,000
2 Population outside of Greater Kano (75%) 6,450,000 9,000,000
3 Greater Kano area population (1-2) 2,150,000 3,000,000
4 Semi-urban population (30% of 2) 1,935,000 2,700,000
5 Rural Population (2-4) 4,515,000 6,300,000
6 Population served Greater Kano (50%) 1,075,000 1,500,000
7 Population not served Greater Kano area 1,075,000 1,500,000
8 Population served semi-urban (50%) 967,500 1,350,000
9 Population not served semi-urban 967,500 1,350,000
10 Population served rural (39%) 1,760,000 2,457,000
11 Population not served rural 2,754,000 3,843,000
12 Total population serve 3,803,000(44%) 5,307,000(44%
13 Total population not served 4,797,000 6,693,000



2.1 Introduction of options.

The distinctive roles of the methods for the provision thereby dealing with the issue of lack of water in the northern part of Nigeria are slated below; such are:

  • Ground water.
  • Imported water and
  • Rainwater Harvesting.


The possible methods of water provision to the arid region of northern Nigeria were compared according to the following criterias;

  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Water quality
  • Quantity of water produced.


4.1 Groundwater

One of the possible methods of water provision to the semi-arid region of the northern Nigeria is the groundwater. According to Mather (2004) He pointed out that the groundwater methods is predominantly a good and unresolved choice for sustainable water provisions in the northern Nigeria. Furthermore, Adelana and Macdonald in 2008 and Alley in 1993, they made the significant claimed that the achievement of a maintainable supply, planning is need which required the hydrological and hydrogeological data on the water demand and the other socio-economic conditions such as the cost of drilling pomp and other materials-the development of under group water required some processes the quality will be affected if not follow one after the other.

4.2 Imported Water.

Furthermore, the imported water should be one of the possible of method of water provision. According to Gratzfeld and et al in 2003, they stated that the use of boreholes pumps with hand pumps, canals, pipeline, and tankers has increased the opportunity for rural areas that lack water supply. And this has good effects on such activities like, agricultural activities like irrigation has been a major means of these methods. An obvious conclusion from the work of   Arlosoroff (1984) is that historically, the hand pump maintenance has been managed in many different ways, though with little exclusion, some initiative has been made mainly just to repair the pump once it has damaged down rather than to carry out a scheduled preventive maintenance. Pump reliability (availability) depends on both the frequency of breakdowns and the length of time for which the pump is out of service each time it needs attention.

4.3 Rainwater harvesting

Rain water is the seizure of precipitation for human use close to where it drops before it goes down into the ground (Thomas and Ford, 2000). Domestic Rainwater harvesting (DRWH), a sub-set of rainwater harvesting is usually manifest as roof run-off harvesting because ground overflow is too dirty for safe human drinking (Thomas, 2000) and Audu (1999) the rain water harvesting is usually motivated by its surface supplies, thereby in a case where pipeline water provisions and ground water are not available there is tendency for each and every home in the community to practices the rainwater harvesting method. However according to Marson (2006) in Kaplan (2011) the water can be hazardous due to some pollutant such as dust, bird dropping and some atmospheric constituents. Therefor this method is cheap, easy but not that good.



In conclusion, water has been one of the most problems of the northern Nigeria; however there are three possible methods of supplying water to the semi-arid region of northern Nigeria mentioned and analysed in this report and these methods are compared in terms of such issues as cost, ease of use, quality and quantity of the water.



Because of the limitation in terms of the word count this report was unable to express visibly the detail explanation of the requirements and the comparison of options.



In view of  all the requirements in providing water to the arid region, it could be seen that the most reliable and affordable methods is the rain water harvesting, reason being that in the northern Nigeria there are large population with low cost of living and their major occupation is agriculture. In the dry season, majority of the plants and animals die, probably due to lack of water. Sotherefor, rainwater harvesting should be the best options during the rainy season. However the rain water can be impure and easily contaminated due to the effects of environmental hazards. Finally, for a good quality of water, government, and other bodies should intervene in the imported water method since the people don’t have enough finance.



Adelana, S., and MacDonald, M. (2008) Applied Ground studies in Africa, IAH Seleted Papers on Hydrogeology, 13. Balkema: CRS Press.

Alley, M.(1993) Regional Ground-Water Quality. New York: John Willey and Sons.

Arlosoroff, S. (1984) Rural Water Supply Handpumps Project. World Bank Technical report No.29.

Bermingham, S. (2000) Changing Environments. Oxford: Heinemann.

Fullbrook,J., et al (2005) Development of a Water Supply Policy for Kano State Government. Retrieved 7th April 2011,

Gratzfeld, J., et al (2003) Extractive Industries in Arid and Semi-Arid Zones: Environmental Planning and Management. Cambridge: IUCN.

Mather,J., (2010) 200 Years of British hydrogeology. Bath: Geological Society.

Mathew,M., (2002) Nigeria: Current Issues and Historical Background. New York: Nova Publishers.

Thomas, D., and Ford, R. (2005) The Crisis of Innovation in Water and Waste Water. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.


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