• Features
  • Updated: March 22, 2023

Tech Solution To Water Crisis: Why Nigeria Needs It Now

Tech Solution To Water Crisis: Why Nigeria Needs It Now

Last year's exceptional flood disasters in Nigeria have, as expected, exacerbated the water crisis in Nigeria and from meteorological forecasts, 2023 may not be different.

According to the UN: "Meeting drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene targets by 2030 require a 4X increase in the pace of progress.

"At current rates, in 2030 1.6 billion people will lack safely managed drinking water; 2.8 billion people will lack safely managed sanitation; 1,9 billion people will lack basic and hygiene facilities."

In view of these statistics, sustainable solutions to global water crises are non-negotiable and tech is a huge way out.

However, seeking a tech solution to the water crisis is nothing new as many versions of it exist and are currently in use in different societies.

A review of a few is necessary here.

A Few Examples of Tech Solution Options to Water Crisis

  • Floating solar stills - This involves a solar still technology that uses sunlight to purify water as presently pioneered by a UAE-based start-up, Manhat, which has given it a 21st-century update, developing a device that produces zero-emissions or brine. Floating on the ocean surface, it collects the freshwater evaporated by the sun’s rays. The salt removed from the seawater is then deposited back into the sea. Its low side now is the limited capacity of 1.5 liters of fresh water per day.
  • Lifestraw - This small and inexpensive microfiltration device removes a whopping 99.9% of waterborne bacteria.
  • SE200 - This was designed to allow people to easily purify their water using just a 12-volt battery and salt. Using a process known as electrolysis, the mixture of water, salt, and electricity work to produce chlorine that effectively kills bacteria in the water. 
  • The Desolenator - This is another version of the solar desalination tool (like the floating solar stills above). It is said to remove a total of 99.9% of contaminants from water, producing roughly 15 liters of freshwater per day, at a cost of about $774 for the device.
  • Warka Water - This is a technology that is biodegradable and can be set up in water-stressed communities in less than a week without the use of mechanical tools. Warka Water is a 30-foot tower that collects up to 26 gallons of drinking water per day by collecting droplets of dew. 

Again, the list above is not exhaustive.

IBM Proposes Tech Solution to Nigeria's Water Crisis

IBM has started accepting proposals for the next cohort of its Sustainability Accelerator, which will focus on water management solutions. 

Quoting the World Health Organisation in a statement, the firm stated that over two billion people live in water-stressed countries, and its competition will create solutions that will solve some of these challenges.

According to the report, 70 million Nigerians have no access to basic water services and 114 million did not have basic sanitation facilities in 2021. 

The General Manager of IBM Africa Growth Markets, Julia Carvalho, stated, “Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the most water-stressed regions in Africa and globally due to factors such as climate change, increased water requirements, population growth, and poverty.

“With recent developments – not limited to cases of devastating droughts and flooding – threatening the future of millions, addressing the water crisis becomes even more urgent by the day.

This is why we are delighted to extend our water-management solutions to organisations with initiatives that need them as they seek to empower communities to overcome these water challenges in a bid to drive water stewardship and ultimately, resilience in the region.”

According to the firm, recent events have worsened Nigeria’s water security as the country continues to suffer from the effects of its most severe flooding in the past decade, with cases of diarrhea, water-borne diseases, respiratory infections, and skin diseases increasing in recent months. 

The firm said, “The RFP process will include input from IBM across disciplines and from representatives from organisations such as Water.org and the United Nations Development Programme. 

"The selection criteria will consider the applicant’s capacity and readiness to support communities that are especially vulnerable to water-related threats, technical feasibility and sustainability for the envisioned solution, and transparency on measurement and reporting – along with others.”

One of the judges for the water cohort selection, Mandell, added, “Innovation in the water management space is key to meeting UN SDG 6.

“Organisation initiatives that are selected to participate in the IBM Sustainability Accelerator will have a significant opportunity to make an impact with the help of IBM’s technology, expertise, and network across its large ecosystem of partners.”

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