A big issue that hinders the strategic provision of water and sanitation services in Nigeria is treating water supply and sanitation as a social service provided by government, and almost free for users. Although the intention may be good, in practice this means service providers in the states don’t have the resources to meet demand, as their budgets from government are insufficient and income from users is low. So what is meant to be a social service works poorly, in fact households often end up paying water sellers anyway, so water is never free in practice.
In contrast, WSSSRP II advocates treating water as a utility, and setting up local institutions that can respond to demand in a financially sustainable way. To put this into action means realigning policy and practice at both Federal and State Levels, and supporting new local institutions capable of delivering an improved service.
WSSSRP II supports the roll-out of reforms to the sector in line with national decisions:
• A draft Water Resources Policy was developed by the FMWR in January 2009. The policy advocates for an integrated, bottom-up and demand driven management approach for Nigerian water resources, as well as the establishment of a sound national water resources law and regulations for its implementation.
• A draft National Water Resources Strategy to implement the national policy, The Strategy includes recommendations for next steps needed for the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management in Nigeria.
• A draft National Water Resources Bill. The final draft of the Bill was transmitted to the FMWR in 2009. The Bill is now being revised by the Ministry in view of the creation of Nigerian IWRM Commission and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency.
In the states WSSSRP II provides:
• Technical support to the States to finalise enactment of the State Water Laws and implementation of policy in line with IWRM principles
• Helps facilitate the consolidation of WSS reform and assist the State Project Steering Committees to promote implementation