“Mini Water Plants (MWP) and the Pressure Filter System (PFS) – A Sustainable Water Treatment/Supply Strategy for Rural Nigeria”
Accepted on July 14, 2014
Nigeria lies between Longitudes 2° 49’E and 14° 37’E and Latitudes 4° 16’N and 13° 52′ North of the Equator. The climate is tropical, characterized by high temperatures and humidity as well as marked wet and dry seasons, with slight variations between South and North. Total rainfall decreases from the coast northwards with annual rainfall ranging between 1,500 and 4,000 mm for the south and between 500 and 1000 mm for the extreme North. This paper examines Nigeria’s hydrology and inland water resources potential and concludes that Nigeria is blessed with a vast expanse of inland freshwater and brackish ecosystems. In spite of these enormous freshwater resources (which waste and flows into the ocean annually as surface runoff), the rural populace which constitute about 65% of Nigeria’s population still lack adequate safe drinking water and sanitation. Despite the fact that the United Nations declared 1980-1990 as “Water and Sanitation Decade” with a goal to provide safe water and sanitation for all before 1990, this goal remains a mirage for Nigeria several decades afterwards. The paper posits that our rural water supply challenge is more of “Water Quality” rather than “Water Quantity” issue. It therefore presents the Mini Water Plants (MWP) and Pressure Filtration System (PFS) as a more sustainable water treatment technology option that can harness the abundant inland fresh water resources and make safe drinking water available to the rural populace at a shorter project gestation period. The raw water quality of the rural waters are not as highly polluted as the urban waters since there is less industrial pollution activities in the rural areas; the waters therefore require lighter treatment technologies to render them potable as opposed to urban water treatment which requires construction of large concrete Rapid Gravity Sand Filtration (RGSF) infrastructures. For the rural areas, attention should be placed on mobilizing MWP’s and PFS systems to treat surface waters and springs which are locally available within the communities and involve the Community Development Associations (CDA’s) and WASHCOM in the maintenance of such water facilities. By so doing, Nigeria will rapidly evolve from the current scenario of “Water, Water, Water Every Where and Yet No Drop to Drink!”. It is only then that its quest to obtain the Guinea worm-free Certification from WHO at the end of this year may become meaningful and sustainable.