Water Quality Control & Sanitation  Department

The Department of Water Quality Control and Sanitation is one of the Technical Departments of the Ministry. It is charged with the responsibilities of managing the nation’s water quality and promotion of water sanitation and hygiene. The mandate of the Department within the overall mandate of the Ministry is to formulate policies and guidelines, and overall management of matters affecting Water Quality Control, Wastewater Management and Water Sanitation and Hygiene promotion.


In order to have a properly organized water quality management and effective promotion of Sanitation and Hygiene in Nigeria, the Ministry assigned the following functions to the Department:

    • Establish monitoring stations for checking water quality variations and incident of pollution.
    • Carry out routine Water Quality Monitoring of Surface and Ground water sources for status and trends analysis.
    • Liaise with the State Water Agencies with a view to keeping records of quality of water produced in the water works as well as the quality of the up and down streams of the abstraction points.
    • Carry out River and stream studies and modeling to determine contamination loads and stratification levels in different periods of the year and prevent eutrophication.
    • Maintain collaboration with Niger Basin Authority (NBA) water quality control monitoring network for the River Niger basin.
    • Institute Quality Assurance and Integrity Management in water quality control laboratories through the adoption of peer review mechanism on GEMs and IPAN standards.
    • Watershed management to identify point sources and non-point source pollution and developing remedial and control measures to safeguard water sources.
    • Formulation and implementation of appropriate guidelines, policies and programme of planning, development and maintenance of water quality control networks undertaken by RBDAs, Water Boards and private agencies throughout the country.
    • Safeguard Public health and support State/LGA institutions through community Based Water Quality Surveillance, Household, Water Treatment and safe Storage programme and promotion of Water Safety plans.
    • Maintain and support the National Task Group on Sanitation and promote the implementation of Community Led Total Sanitation in Nigeria
    • Support National Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion through advocacy and capacity building of the State Agencies, the WASH Departments of the Local Government Areas and the WASH committees at the Communities.
    • Drive the National Sanitation Promotion and Advocacy including the Global/National Hand washing Campaigns.
    • Develop a National Water Sanitation Policy and support National Policies on Sanitation
    • Promote the in-house capability of States and Local Government Councils through Advocacy and enlightenment in sanitation, improved hygiene, water safety plan and sanitation at village/community level;
    • Develop a National Policy for urban sanitation and wastewater management and reuse.
    • Promote, undertake the planning, design and supervision of the construction of urban sanitation and wastewater treatment plants in partnership with the States, Local Government Councils and the Private Sector.
    • Coordinate WASH Sector Emergency Response nationwide.
    • Carry out WASH intervention and Disaster Risk Reduction measures in emergencies, floods, conflict zones and IDPs and control of waterborne diseases;
    • Prepare National WASH Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) and interventions
    • Institutionalize WASH Tracking and Surveillance, data management, publish reports, promotion posters, hand bills on water, sanitation and hygiene, water quality Atlases, Maps, etc.
    • Enhance international cooperation with partners in scaling up water sanitation and hygiene issues and implement National commitments to international development policy framework
    • Develop robust computer based systems/ICT and reporting of national developments and progress in water sanitation and hygiene to the international community.
    • Capacity building in water quality, sanitation and safety management, participation at seminars, workshops and conferences in such related matters
    • Carry out studies and provide technical manuals and guidelines on tropical water resources subjects such as:- water safety plans, performance monitoring, water quality modeling, environmental impact assessment and public information dissemination.

Some of our Activities:

Global Handwashing events

The United Nations General Assembly in 2008 declared October 15 as Global Hand Washing Day (GHWD) to celebrate the importance of hand washing as the life line of human well being and create awareness on cultivating the good hygiene habit of hand washing at critical times. Since its inception in 2008, the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS) has been coordinating the commemoration of the global event with the collaboration of different partners, annually.

2016 Commemoration Activities

In its effort to have a successful and impactful celebration of the 2016 Global Hand Washing Day Celebration, the NTGS set up a sub-committee to plan the celebration in line with the theme of the year which was ‘Make Hand washing a Habit’. The activities carried out for the celebration included:

    1. 2-day Hygiene Promotion training for stakeholders
    2. Media Briefing by the Honourable Minister of Water Resources
    3. Commemoration events in 72 schools across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

The importance of handwashing with soap to our health and general well being cannot be overemphasized. It is the most cost effective and high impact intervention to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which kill millions of children in developing countries annually. Regular practicing of handwashing with soap at critical moments – before eating/handling food and after using the toilet save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention and have the potential of reducing deaths from diarrhea by almost half, and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one quarter.

2016 Mid -Year FGN/UNICEF WASH programme

The 2016 Mid -Year FGN/UNICEF WASH programme was held at Immaculate Suites and Apartments, Abuja on the 23rd-24thJune, 2016. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta, mni, chaired the meeting. Participation was drawn from various MDAs this includes FMWR, FMoEnv, UNICEF, Budget and National Planning, RUWASSA, etc., with the following objectives:

    • To track the progress of implementation of the activities in Annual Work plan
    • Review the implementation of FGN-UNICEF WASH programme
    • Discuss jointly with partners and stakeholders on FGN-UNICEF programme and emerging issues.
    • Identify challenges of programmes and proffer solutions and commence preparation of work plan for 2017.

Key Highlights of the 2016 Annual Work Plan (AWP):

Some of the key highlights of the achievements made as at June 2016 include the following:

    • Support to the Government’s PEWASH Strategy
    • Endorsement of National ODF road map by the NCWR
    • Establishment of LGA WASH Department
    • Beefing up capacity to strengthen Sanitation financing /marketing.
    • Population that gain access to safe water with the objective of making all Nigerians have access to safe water by 2030
    • Water safety plan was carried out in 780 communities in 2016
    • Continuous progress of Tippy  Taps in communities
    • Roll –out of VHP training as per the new hygiene strategy.
    • Water Bills for Gombe RUWASSA &Anambra state water & sanitation agencies passed by their respective House of Assembly
    • North East Recovery & Peace building Assessment/ support to N-E
    • UNICEF elected as Chair of WASH Development Partner’s Group
    • On-track with progress in Water & Sanitation; slow on WASH in Institutions

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS): The concept

    • Focuses on the use of value re orientation to achieve a behavioral change towards personal and public hygiene and
    • Well constructed latrines and appropriate usage are promoted

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS): The Approach

    • National approach to  scale up Sanitation and Hygiene
    • Implemented in 36 states plus FCT with RUWASSAs
    • Build capacity of States and LGAs’ officers
    • key into UN Secretary General’s End Open Defecation Campaign
    • Status of Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Nigeria

National Reference Water Quality Monitoring Laboratories’ Equipment


The concern of the Federal Government on the high prevalence of water borne diseases in the country due to inadequate facilities of the State Water Agencies nationwide, in pursuant of the demands of the Constitution and the Water Resources Act to protect and control the nation’s water resources and subsequent approval by the National Council on Water Resources in 1995, compelled the then Department of Water Supply and Quality Control to embark on Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Programme. The programme involves the setting up of a network of Water Quality Reference Laboratories towards addressing the situation.

The Ministry is charged with the overall responsibility of formulating policy objectives, collecting data, monitoring and coordinating water resources management in Nigeria. As part of its water quality monitoring framework, the Ministry established and operates twelve (12) National Water Quality Reference Laboratories in Nigeria in which Six (6) laboratories are operational and the remaining six (6) are at various stages of completion with Sokoto and Maiduguri which are 100% completed. The six (6) operational laboratories were strategically located to reflect the six geo-political regions of the country. These include the following;

National Water Quality Reference Laboratory Akure:

Covering all of Ekiti, Edo, Osun and Kogi and parts of Delta, Oyo and Kwara States

    • National Water Quality Reference Laboratory Enugu: Covering all of Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom States.
    • National Water Quality Reference Laboratory Gombe: Covering all of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Taraba and parts of Bauchi and Plateau States.
    • National Water Quality Reference Kano: Covering all of Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa and Sokoto and part of Bauchi States.
    • National Water Quality Reference Laboratory Lagos: Covering all of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo and parts of Kwara States.
    • National Water Quality Reference Laboratory Minna: Covering all of Niger, Kaduna, Nasarawa, FCT and parts of Plateau States.

Two other National Laboratories, Sokoto and Maiduguri laboratories have been completed awaiting equipment and furnishing. The six (6) non-operational laboratories will reduce the workload on the existing operational laboratories mentioned above, when operational.

The Labs monitor Surface water, Groundwater, Lake, Reservoirs and Irrigation Drainages for Ecosystem balance and status & trend analysis.

These Laboratories were established to monitor routinely / surveillance of water quality in the following category;

    • Surface waters (river, dam, stream, pond etc.)
    • Ground waters (borehole, protected dug well and spring)
    • Public water system (from the state water treatment plants)
    • Water from irrigation schemes
    • Water from Hydrological based stations
    • Wastewater (industrial effluents)

The above is with a view to determining the status and trend in quality and determines the necessity of timely intervention in case of contamination, pollution and terrorism.

The Water Quality Laboratories and Monitoring Network program was established towards achieving the following objectives:

    • Identification of areas where pollution is taking place through water sampling and testing.
    • Analysing these findings to determine the sources of such pollution.
    • Identify the offenders of pollution so that they can be held responsible for all damages done and for the cost of corrective measures that will be required.
    • Protect the public health and well-being of the people
    • Protect the quality of the nation’s water resources
    • Establish records of water quality data which will be used for government policy, planning and public information
    • Promote public awareness to gain national recognition of the need to control the generation of wastes at their sources, and to appreciate the need and value of treatment, recycling or safe disposal into the environment.

The six operational laboratories located in Akure, Enugu, Gombe, Kano, Lagos and Minna were designed to accommodate various sections which includes Physico-chemical, Microbiological, Library, Washroom, Store and Security room. So also, three units of staff housing are available in each of the laboratories comprising of a 3-bedroom bungalow and two number two-bedrooms semi-detached bungalows. It is worth noting that the six operational laboratories were fully equipped with various laboratory equipment and necessary chemicals, reagents and micro-biological media that are relevant with respect to water and wastewater analysis.

The staff in the 6 operational laboratories based their professional fields and number is as follow:

Profession Akure Enugu Gombe Kano Lagos Minna
Chemists 2 4 1 3 1 1
Microbiologist 1 3 2 2 2
Biochemists 1 1
Hydrogeologist /Geologist 2 2 3 2 2 3
Engineers 2 1 1
Chemical/Science Technologist 1 1
Physicist 1 1
Technicians 1 2 5 1 2 1
Environmentalist 1 1
Data/Computer Analyst Assistant 1 1
TOTAL 10 11 13 10 8 11



The National Water Quality Reference Laboratories under the Department achieved remarkable results in the area of Water Quality Monitoring in Nigeria. These significant achievements are in the area of Monitoring Public Water Supply using a 3-stage sampling technique and improving on the Eco-system balance through periodic monitoring of Rivers, Lakes, and Reservoirs etc. However, the operational laboratories are working with International Organizations such as UNICEF, UNEP/GEMS on laboratory standards in order to enhance the laboratory’s performance up to international standards. The laboratories also play significant role during the Technical Committee meeting convened by the Ministry in collaboration with the Standards Organizations of Nigeria (SON) on the implementation and enforcement of the Nigerian Standards for Drinking Water Quality (NSDWQ-NIS 554: 2007).


Clean Nigeria Campaign (CNC)

Executive Summary

The Government of Nigeria is committed to end open defecation in the country by 2025 which is in line with the revised global target set by the United Nations. Towards this end, FMWR requested UNICEF, Nigeria to undertake the development of a road map for making Nigeria open-defecation free by 2025.The present exercise is the outcome of this resolve.
Presently (2015) around 46 million people in Nigeria defecate in the open. Another 56 million people are estimated to be added during the next ten years. This means a total of 102 million people or 20 million households should have access to a toilet and use it. Besides, sanitation facilities have to be provided to numerous institutions such as schools, health centers, market centers, motor parks, highway eateries, jetties and religious places so as not to have any open defecation around these places.
The adverse impact of open defecation is now well documented. According to a World Bank Report (2012), around 122,000 Nigerians including 87,000 children under 5 die each year from diarrhea; nearly 90% is directly attributed to water, sanitation and hygiene. A very comprehensive review of 21 studies, covering several countries found out a 36% reduction in diarrhea morbidity due to improved sanitation.