National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said that safe and quality drinking water can only be readily available to the Nigerian public if packaged water producers adhere to standards set by the regulatory agencies for the production and packaging of hygienic drinking water.
Nasiru Abdullahi Argungu, Chief Regulatory Officer, NAFDAC, noted this recently at the packaged water producers workshop organised by Water Producers Association of Nigeria (WAPAN) Surulere / Mushin Zone, Lagos.
Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes.
In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use.
According to NAFDAC, the facilities required for the production of potable/drinking water should include the following: the borehole shall be fitted with a submersible pump of adequate power to pump the raw water out of the borehole; raw and treated water tanks should be made of treated PVC or stainless steel; and in case of galvanized steel, it shall be coated internally with food grade rubber paint.
NAFDAC also noted other facilities required for the production of potable/drinking water should include: industrial modules containing sand bed and activated charcoal; micro filters of adequate mesh sizes should be provided for proper filtration; and the last filtration point should have the least mesh size (example 0.5 microns).
“Improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction”, NAFDAC told participants at the workshop.
NAFDAC believes that a collaborative approach between the producers and the regulators must be in place to provide safe and quality drinking water for public consumption.
According to Argungu, “Sachet table water is an alternative for accessible safe drinking water in Nigeria. The significance of locally sourced, low-cost alternative safe drinking water schemes contributed to increased sustainable access in rural and peri-urban setting in the country. The consumption of sachet table water is cost effective compared to the cost of medication, human resource development as a result of water borne diseases”.
Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. Absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks.
“Water must be properly treated in line with standard regulatory requirement to prevent the public from water borne illness. Potable water is defined as water that is suitable for human consumption (that is water that can be used for drinking or cooking).
“The term implies that the water is drinkable as well as safe. Drinkable water means it is free of unpleasant odors, tastes and colors, and is within reasonable limits of temperature. Safe water means it contains no toxins, carcinogens, pathogenic micro-organisms, or other health hazards.
“Potable water must meet numerous physical, chemical, microbiological, and radionuclide (q.v.) standards for both the untreated (raw) water sources and the treated water”, NAFDAC stated.