Urban & Regional Planning





Water is an important component of the earth covering about three quarters (3/4) of the earth’s surface and occurs on land, underground and in space. Without water life on earth would be impossible. It is often referred to as the “Liquid of life” because it constitutes up to ninety percent (90%) of the cell and serves as medium for the dissolution and transportation of body nutrients and other essential molecules. Without its availability for human use (through drinking) within a maximum of fourteen days, the body becomes dehydrated and life is endangered. In addition, about two thirds (2/3) of our body is made up of water, about 45 litres in the average adult. The brain is 5 percent water, the muscles 77 percent and the bones 33 percent (Akpan, 1998). According to him, we need to drink about two liters a day to stay healthy. The human body uses water to cleanse the blood as it passes through the kidney, bathes cells and tissues, regulates body temperature, carries oxygen around the body, transports food to the body organs, helps in food digestion, prevents a build-up of salts, and helps in removing carbon dioxide and waste products. Similarly, it is essential to terrestrial plant life and marine/aquatic flora and fauna. More so, in the life of human communities and economic activities, water is useful for sanitation, agriculture and fishery. In developing countries, thousands of children under five years die every day due to drinking contaminating water (WHO, 2004). Thus lack of safe drinking water supply, basic sanitation and hygienic practices is associated with high morbidity and mortality from excreta related diseases.

Water-borne pathogens infect around 250 million people each year resulting in 10 to 20 million deaths world-wide. An estimated 80% of all illness in developing countries is related to water and sanitation and 15% of all child deaths under the age of five years in developing countries result from diarrhea diseases (WHO, 2004; Thompson and Khan,2000).

According to Ayeni (2014), no fewer than seven million people across the world die of waterborne diseases each year. Polluted water killed at least a child every 10 seconds and identified lack of potable water and poor hygiene as major causes of the high rate in child mortality in the world according to him. That, over 2.4 billion people across the world were without sanitation facilities, saying this had also contributed to the untimely death in most countries of the world including Nigeria. Also reported by Punch News Thursday, 2nd October, 2014, that more than 80 Nigerian refugees, fleeing from the Boko Haram insurgency are known to have died from cholera in refugee camps in Cameroon due to lack of adequate water supply and sanitation problems.

The lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation measures could also lead to a number of diseases such as dysentery, salmonellosis, shigellosis and typhoid, and every year millions of lives are claimed in developing countries. The evaluation of potable water supplies for coliform bacteria is important in determining the quality level of drinking water. High levels of coliform counts indicate a contaminated source, inadequate treatment or post-treatment deficiencies (Mathew; Lechevallier; Cameron and Fetens, 1984). Many developing countries suffer from either chronic shortages of freshwater or the readily accessible water resources are heavily polluted (Lehloesa and Muyima, 2000).

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