Causes Of Water Shortage in Nigeria

Water pollution, the release of substances into subsurface groundwater or into lakes, streams, rivers, estuaries, and oceans to the point where the substances interfere with beneficial use of the water or with the natural functioning of ecosystems. In addition to the release of substances, such as chemicals or microorganisms, water pollution may also include the release of energy, in the form of radioactivity or heat, into bodies of water. Nigeria has abundant water resources although

Nigeria has abundant water resources although they are unevenly distributed over the country. The highest annual precipitation of about 3,000 mm occurs in the Niger Delta and mangrove swamp areas of the south-east, where rain falls for more than eight months a year. There is a progressive reduction in precipitation northwards with the most arid north-eastern Sahelian region receiving as little as 500 mm a -1 precipitation from about 3-4 months of rainfall. Widespread flooding occurs in the southern parts of the country, while the northern parts experience chronic water shortages during the dry season when rainfed springs, streams and boreholes dry up.

In spite of the importance of adequate water quality and quantity for human health and survival, public water supply coverage in Nigerian cities appears to be decreasing and deteriorating largely due to pollution.

Almost everything humans do, from growing food to manufacturing products to generating electricity, has the potential to release pollution into the environment. Regulatory agencies charged with protecting the environment identify two main categories of pollution: point-source and nonpoint-source pollution.

Point-source pollution: This type of pollution  is easy to identify. As the name suggests, it comes from a single place. Nonpoint-source pollution is harder to identify and harder to address. It is pollution that comes from many places, all at once.

Nonpoint-source pollution:  This is the opposite of point-source pollution, with pollutants released in a wide area. As an example, picture a city street during a thunderstorm. Non-point sources pollution is  comparatively  hard  to  recognize,  and  hence methods  of control can be complicated and need much effort. The main source of this pollution is the run-off from rains  and  the  direct  rainfall  through  polluted  atmosphere.  One of  the  most  important  nonpoint  source pollutants is related  to  agriculture  run  off  like  fertilizers  and  pesticides  which  flow  into  the  water,  and storm water drainage.

7 Causes Of Water Pollution In Nigeria

Sewage and Wastewater

The sewage and wastewater that is produced in each household are treated chemically and released into the sea along with fresh water. The sewage water carries pathogens, a typical water pollutant, other harmful bacteria, and chemicals that can cause serious health problems and thereby diseases. Microorganisms in water are known to cause some of the very deadly diseases and become the breeding grounds for creatures that act as carriers. These carriers inflict these diseases onto an individual via various forms of contact. A typical example would be Malaria.


Oil and Petroleum Substances

Oceans are polluted by oil on a daily basis from oil spills, routine shipping, run-offs and dumping. … Oil spills cause a very localised problem but can be catastrophic to local marine wildlife such as fish, birds and sea otters. Oil cannot dissolve in water and forms a thick sludge in the water. These  substances can  be  classified  as point source pollution, and are almost the highest ranked contaminants of the water in Nigeria,  mostly  in the Niger  Delta  region  along the  coast  of  Nigeria.  Positively,  “Nigeria’s economy  heavily  depends  on  the  oil  and  gas sector, which in 2008 contributes 97.5 percent of export   revenues,   81   percent   of   government revenues according to the World Bank.    This    huge prosperity  can have significant  impact  on  water pollution,  especially,  oil  mining  operations  and activities  associated  with  shipping  and drilling  in the seabed as well as oil spillage in the water.  Water polluted   by   oil   spills     have numerous  effects  on  the marine  mammals  and  fish species.


Nutrient Pollution and Eutrophication

Nutrient   Pollution is   a   major widespread ecological problem in Nigeria  as  well  as  the  entire  universe. Numerous  point  and  nonpoint  pollution sources,     involving     waste     disposal, atmospheric  nitrogen  oxides,  chemical fertilizers  used  in  agriculture and  fossil fuel   uses,   contain   Nutrients.   Nitrogen and  phosphorus  are  the  major  nutrient elements   to   cultivate   aquatic   plants. However, overgrowth of these organisms, consequence to the increment  of  nutrients, is  destructive  to water. This  is  called  “Eutrophication” which  means  well-nourished  water  by nutrients . The eutrophication drive towards   a   rapid overgrowth of aquatic plants – especially the phytoplankton  plants  which they  grow  on  the  surface  of  the  water –  which affect the water sanitation,  hinder  the  food  chain cycle which  adversely  affect  the  fish  population  and health, increase the  turbidity  of  water, and  prevent  the necessary solar  transmission for emergent  vegetation growth. Similarly,  when the  aquatic  plants – namely  the  benthic  plants – die  and  settle  in  the  bottom,  the dissolved  oxygen  is  reduced  while  it  is  used  by them for  decomposing,  therefore,  the  water  quality  is inappropriate due to less dissolved oxygen.


Chemical and Industrial Pollution

Industries discharge chemical wastes comprising substances called effluents in rivers, lakes, streams etc. Factories sometimes turn waterways into open sewers by dumping oil, toxic chemicals and other harmful liquids called effluents into them. Water  can  simply  host  the  chemical  substances  due  to  its  particular  physical  and  chemical properties . Chemical and industrial disposals are frequent pollutants of the water as they have the ability to dissolve in the water molecules. Nevertheless, chemical pollutants either as solution in the atmosphere or as a direct discharge from factories have few broad groups are discussed below according to their effects.    An  obvious  example  is  the disposal  of industrial  waste  into  the  lagoon  from  Lagos  metropolis which adversely affected the aquatic life and the aesthetic view of the metropolis. Hence, bluish green  is  the  current  colour of  the affected water,  their  potential hydrogen  (PH)  level  is  high,  and  the  meant  rivers  have  non-preferable  sodium  and  lead  components (


Agro Chemicals

Agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of water abstractions worldwide, plays a major role in water pollution. Farms discharge large quantities of agrochemicals, organic matter, drug residues, sediments and saline drainage into water bodies. Pesticides are widely used in Nigeria. Pesticides reach and contaminate both surface water and ground water via runoff – with  rain  or  irrigation  water – from  adjacent  farmlands,  roadsides  or  countryside  lawns.  Usually,  pesticides  are  toxic  chemicals  which  are  dangerous  if  contained  in  the ingested food.  An   analytical   research   study was conducted at Ogba, Ikoro and Ovia rivers   in   Edo   State   concluded   that certain  degrees  of  pollution  of  fish  and water   are   recorded   in   the   samples taken.  Human  health  is  endangered  by rapid  rising  of  contamination . Pesticides  have  much  effect  on  human  health  like  destroying  the  nerve system, liver’s rotting, chronic diseases, etc.


 Mining Pollution

Water-pollution problems caused by mining include acid mine drainage, metal contamination, and increased sediment levels in streams. Sources can include active or abandoned surface and underground mines, processing plants, waste-disposal areas, haulage roads, or tailings ponds. Despite  the  fact  that  mining  for  minerals  in Nigeria  is still  in  development  stage  as  national industry,  there  are  many  small-scale, mostly  illegal, businesses practice mining actions in some country states   like   Mabu,   Kebbi   and   Mambilla  Plateau.  Water pollution from mines is carried by rainwater and other possible means to the fresh surface and ground water. The contaminated water causes skin  blisters  and  sores. Furthermore,  there is some  water bodies near mining practices are entirely devoid of life. In addition to inclined acidity, the water can be polluted with heavy metals such as cadmium. These heavy metals can be leached into waterways via rainwater. Arsenic leach heaps, in gold mining, may seep out arsenic into groundwater or surface water. See :  Causes Of Water Shortages In Nigeria 



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