Water and poverty are inextricably linked. You stand a higher chance of breaking out of poverty if you can break the water poverty cycle. There’s no gainsaying that sustainable access to clean and safe water is vital to poverty reduction.

Nigeria is a country richly blessed with water resources, that some of its states are named after rivers and water bodies. Despite Nigeria’s richness in water resources, a huge percentage of its population still lack access to clean drinking water and this, to a large extent, has been a major cause of poverty in Nigeria.

Although there are other reasons, which has been attributed to poverty in Nigeria such as ethnic conflict, political instability among others. However, lack of water, which is one of the greatest causes of poverty in Nigeria, is often overlooked.

When we talk about poverty, we primarily refer to the economically disadvantaged people across the globe that survive on incomes of less than $1.90 a day.

As the largest Oil-producing country in Africa and the most populous black nation in the world, you would expect the story to be different but Nigeria is home to the highest number of people living in extreme poverty, globally. 87 million Nigerians are living below the poverty line; that is almost 1 out of every 2 Nigerian survive on income of less than $1.90 a day. The reason for this stark statistics might not be far-fetched, considering that nearly 60 million Nigerians lack access to at least basic water.

The majority of the 87 million Nigerians that live below the poverty line come from the 60 million without access to a basic drinking water, who do a round trip of more than 30 minutes just to get water.

Poverty, Economy and Water

The foundation of all development

Water is a key input to economic growth, it contributes to development, job creation and gross domestic product (GDP) of a nation. According to Prof Olukayode, a renowned Climatologist, “Water resources underpin our quality of life and our national economy.

The sustainability of Nigeria’s economic growth and development depend, among other things on what happens to its water resources’’. The lack of accessible, reliable and safe drinking water together with poor sanitation and hygiene, is estimated to cost Nigeria about $1.3 Billion in access time, loss due to premature deaths, productive time cost and health care cost.

Poverty, Health, Education and Water

The foundation of all development

Water-borne disease is a constant threat to health, which keeps people out of the work force and children out of school. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 443 million school days are lost each year from water related illness.

On the other hand, families who could barely survive on the less than $1.90 a day, spend their meagre income treating diseases linked to water poverty such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, among others. All these contribute to the seemingly endless cycle of poverty amongst homes in Nigeria.

Poverty, Women and Water

The foundation of all development

Women bear the heaviest burden when there is no safe water and sanitation. In most homes, women and children are responsible for fetching water for their families, often spending several hours each day traveling and waiting at a water point, which most times are contaminated. This often puts them at risk of physical abuse and injury.

Also, the women and girls often stay home from work and school to care for sick family members who are bed-ridden due to water-related diseases. The cycle of water and poverty continue where women inevitably have to endure these experiences, as they are often excluded from income-earning or productive labour.

The task of ending extreme poverty in Nigeria by 2030 is hinged mainly on our collective ability to end water poverty.

Economic Water Scarcity in the midst of endowed water resources

Nigeria suffers from ‘’economic water scarcity’’
Nigeria suffers from ‘’economic water scarcity’’, which is the inability to properly manage, use and protect water resources for socio economic development and environmental sustainability. The Niger Delta region is faced with water pollution arising from oil exploration while the northern region, which experience relatively low rainfall, are faced with severe water scarcity during the dry season. Indiscriminate discharge of wastewater from industries into water bodies further exacerbates the water scarcity in most regions of Nigeria.
The abundance of crude oil, which should be a blessing for the people of Niger Delta, has become a cause for concern for the people in the region. Oil spillage from exploration activities has contaminated water sources, killing fishes and other aquatic animals that serve as source of livelihood and food for the people. As a result of the incessant oil spillage, Agricultural activities and yield are severed, while poor and vulnerable lives are increasingly endangered from consumption of contaminated water.

Between January 1, 2016 and July 2018, the world has seen about 83 million people escape extreme poverty, owing in part to the introduction of internationally agreed UN Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs), intended to “end poverty” by 2030.

The Global goal to end poverty

The task of ending extreme poverty in Nigeria by 2030 is hinged mainly on our collective ability to end water poverty. Researchers noted that between January 1, 2016 and July 2018, the world has seen about 83 million people escape extreme poverty, owing in part to the introduction of internationally agreed UN Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs), intended to “end poverty” by 2030.

Goal 6 of the United Nations SDGs is targeted at universal access to water by 2030. Four years gone and Nigeria is off track to achieve this goal. It is becoming inexorably harder because we are running out of time and the world is off track in reaching the SDG of universal access to water. To end poverty in Nigeria, it is imperative that Nigeria adopts a pragmatic approach to end water poverty.

How We are Helping

…And how you can join us

According to Schuster Wallace, “no single intervention is more likely to have a significant impact on global poverty than the provision of safe water.” Acknowledging the inextricable link between poverty and water, Hope Spring Water has committed to breaking the poverty cycle in Nigeria by providing clean and safe water for communities in dire need whilst advocating for improved government intervention and private sector investment in the Nigeria water sector.

The number of Nigerians falling into extreme poverty grows by roughly six people every minute. This is worrisome and everyone has a huge role to play in curbing this trend. As an individual or a group, you can support to end poverty in Nigeria when you donate to any of our projects across the country. With a donation of $34, you can give one person water for life. You can also start a fundraising campaign with our support or send our e-cards to celebrate your friends and families on special occasions.

We know your time is invaluable, but you will be lifting thousands of people out of poverty when you join our advocacy campaigns to demand government accountability and improved intervention in Nigeria water sector.

No matter your gender, tribe, religion, or location, we believe in your ability to end poverty in Nigeria. Let us do it together!