Water and sanitation is among the topmost emerging issues that have local, national and global importance. Water typifies the liquid state of matter and it is one of the most abundant natural resources of the earth; distinctively occupying 75% of the earth surface and 50-90% of the weight of living organisms. The main uses of water include application in various spiritual, domestic, commercial and industrial activities; transportation; agriculture; livelihood; recreation and tourism; energy generation; and firefighting. Sanitation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces. It can also mean the maintenance of hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection and wastewater disposal. Globally a total of 2.6 billion people lack improved latrine while about 884 million people lack access to improved source of drinking water (WHO and UNICEF, 2010). The availability of safe drinking water and enhanced sanitation in addition to decent hygiene practices has significant effects on health, productivity, income and development. For instance as a result of inadequate sanitation, hygiene and water, an estimated 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoeal diseases; 200 million people are infected with schistosomiasis, while more than 1 billion people are suffering from intestinal helminthes infection (WHO, 2004). Also, almost 80 million years of “disability free” life is lost annually to unimproved household environments (UNDP/UNCHS/World Bank, 1997). Providing funds in order to meet the United Nation’s target on water and sanitation is a huge challenge to municipalities. It was reported that developing countries require about US$ 42 billion and US$ 142 billion to meet the new coverage on water and sanitation respectively (WHO, 2008). Economic losses as a result of poor sanitation in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Peru, and Tanzania is more than US$10 billion per year representing 1.0 – 6.3% of each country’s Gross Domestic Product (World Bank, 2013).
In Nigeria, provision of adequate, safe drinking water and decent sanitation is one of the objectives of the country’s vision 20:20:20. Poor management of the country’s environment costs the government about US$10 billion annually (Ajao et al., 2011). In many communities within the country, inadequate safe water supply and sanitation facilities have increased infant mortality rates and the occurrence of water related diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and guinea worm (ADF, 2007). Tracking Nigeria’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) especially the target on water and sanitation is essential so as to monitor progress in achieving the 2015 benchmark, ascertain improvements or areas in need, and explore areas of possible political and economic commitment at local, state, and national level.
In 1990, 2000 and 2011, the proportion of Nigeria’s population with improved sources of drinking water was 47, 55, and 61 % respectively. Pipe borne water is prominent in urban areas while surface water is a common feature in the rural areas. In addition, urban areas have access to improved water sources than rural areas. On a national scale, as at 2011 more than half of Nigerians rely on other improved sources of drinking water such as protected dug wells and springs, tube wells or boreholes, rainwater collection, and public taps or standpipes. Altogether an estimated 26% of the 2011 population of Nigeria gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1995 (WHO and UNICEF, 2013).
Water is an essential commodity: human life – and indeed all life on earth – depends upon it. Water is also a critical input to production in a number of economic sectors. Water is used to extract energy and mineral resources from the earth, refine petroleum and chemicals, roll steel, mill paper, and produce uncounted other goods, from semiconductors to the foods and beverages that line supermarket shelves. Water cools the generators and drives the turbines that produce electricity, and sustains the habitat and fish stocks that are vital to the commercial fishing industry. Rivers, lakes and oceans provide natural highways for commercial navigation, and provide places to swim, fish, and boat, helping to fuel economic activity in the recreation and tourism industry.
Although water is a local resource, water use is connected at a regional or watershed level; through commerce, trade, and other economic linkages, it is connected at a national or international level as well.
Chlorides are present in both fresh and salt water, and are essential elements of life. Salts such as table salt are composed of ions that are bonded together. When table salt is mixed with water, its sodium and chloride ions separate as they dissolve. Chloride ions in the environment can come from sodium chloride or from other chloride salts such as potassium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. The concentration of chlorides has sharply increased in many bodies of water since the widespread adoption of road salt as a deicer in the 1970s, and the ecological implications of this change have yet to be fully determined. Scientists who study watersheds use elevated chloride levels as one indicator of pollution in a body of water.
Chloride (Cl–) is a naturally occurring major anion found in all natural waters. Chloride behaves as a conservative ion in most aqueous environments, meaning its movement is not retarded by the interaction of water with soils, sediments, and rocks. As such, it can be used as an indicator of other types of contamination. Anomalously high concentrations can act as an “advance warning” of the presence of other more toxic contaminants. Concentrations of Cl– in natural waters can range from less than 1 milligram per liter (mg/L) in rainfall and some freshwater aquifers to greater than 100,000 mg/L for very old ground waters within deep intracratonic basins (Graf et al., 1966; Psenner, 1989). Its concentration in precipitation in mid-continental regions (far from oceans and other salt sources) is almost always less than 1 mg/L, and often less than 0.1 mg/L (NADP, 2011).
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