Mrs Elizabeth Ugoh, the Deputy Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, stated this in Abuja on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
She said the ministry was working with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), to enforce the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality toward ensuring the quality of water being supplied to the public.
“The ministry is calling on all Nigerians drinking water from the borehole and other sources to regularly test their water in laboratories across the country to reduce consuming unwholesome water.
“We are also calling on borehole drillers to abide by the National Drilling Code of Practice”, she added.
According to her, six new laboratories are being constructed in the six geo-political zones by the Federal Government to improve water quality and standard in the country.
Ugoh said that the six existing laboratories were inadequate due to the country’s large population.
“We have six operational laboratories; we are building additional six now.
“Our target is that each state will have one, so that all together, we will have 37 laboratories in the whole federation.
“In order to ascertain the quality of water consumed by the people, the need for more laboratories cannot be over emphasised.
“The laboratories take care of the chemical side of testing for water, the micro-biological side where the pathogens that cause diseases are discovered.
“When the physical aspects of water have been sorted out, the chemical aspect of it has to be taken care of by the laboratories”, she stressed.
The deputy director said when quality potable water is made available, most water-borne diseases would be reduced, saying they accounted for the majority of tropical diseases in the country.
“Seventy per cent of tropical diseases are water-borne.
“If we provide potable water, all occurrences of water-borne diseases like typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, and scabies will be non-existent.’’
She, however, said that people could prevent the diseases by using test kits to test for iron, magnesium and other essential elements.
The deputy director maintained that laboratories were necessary for more thorough tests on water for consumption.
She said it was a matter for regret that diarrhoea alone kills no fewer than 150,000 under-five children annually.
According to her, diarrhoea is responsible for one-quarter of all child deaths for the poorest Nigerians as this requires collective efforts to tackle.
“We are testing villages under our comprehensive Rural Water Surveillance Programme, for now, we are supplying the kits, we believe one day it will be available everywhere’’, she said.
On guidelines for drinking water quality, Ugoh explained that WHO has the sole responsibility of providing guidelines.
She, however, stated that the ministry had a National Drinking Water Standard already in place.
To this end, she noted that the ministry was working with all stakeholders to strengthen river basins across the country to increase access to potable water for the populace.