Sources of water for domestic use in Port Harcourt
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
0 Source: Federal Republic of Nigeria, Population and Housing Census Report, 2006.
Figure 8: The main source of water in Port Harcourt is boreholes, which account to about 50 per cent of the water sources for domestic use. Many of these boreholes are shallow, making them prone to pollution, and increasing the risk of water-borne diseases.
Pipe-borne inside dwelling
Well outside dwelling Pipe-borne
Tanker supply/ Water vendor
streams or creeks, often in the vicinity of wetlands, in the hope that ecological services in these areas will purify the waste. This practice poses immense environmental and human threats (Kakulu 2008, 2009). The unregulated discharge of untreated wastewater from slaughterhouses into the city’s rivers and waterways, and the practice of building pier latrines are also a major source of pollution in the city. Despite these challenges, steps towards improving management of wastewater are being taken. The Ministry of Environment has taken action to stop the dumping of sewage onto open spaces and wetlands. In addition, two new wastewater treatment plants are under construction to serve the city.
IMPROVING THE WASTE AND WATER MANAGEMENT IN PORT HARCOURT
The combination of inadequate wastewater facilities and the city’s dependency on boreholes for freshwater, increases the chances of water contamination and the risk this poses to the city’s population. Despite the current situation, projects and initiatives are in the pipeline, and one good example is the construction of two modern wastewater treatment plants, for Port Harcourt Township. The treatment plants are expected to receive and treat the sewage and dispose/re-use the end products, and construction work has already been commenced. It is imperative that management and restoration of ecosystems is done alongside improved wastewater management, as ecosystems in no way can currently buffer the direct spilling of waste undiluted. Wastewater management, water management and ecosystem restoration must be closely coordinated to improve water management in Port Harcourt, as well as all other African cities, thus providing a holistic approach to water scarcity and quality in the long term.