Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse in Sub Saharan Africa Countries: Challenges and Opportunities in Nigeria
by Bamgboye, Taiwo Temitope
Doctoral Researcher at the Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering, University of Oulu, Finland, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nowadays, some regions of the world face water stress and groundwater depletion. This is due to increasing global economic growth, rapid deterioration of water quality, and dynamics of precipitation patterns due to climate change . As a result, water engineers and urban planners are constantly looking for additional water sources to find permanent solutions to the limited resources of their respective regions. Water reclamation and reuse are uniquely important in sustainable water resource management and conservation. The process primarily improves local water supplies for urban, agricultural, industrial, and non-human uses .
In sub-Saharan Africa, water reuse has been reported in Ghana, Mali, and Nambia . Water reclamation and reuse is an intriguing way to conserve and protect available water resources and supplies. It offers the opportunity to (1) reduce pollution and contamination from the discharge of wastewater into sensitive water bodies (2) create a new water supply and reduce demand on limited traditional water supplies. However, there are several challenges to implementing these initiatives, including public acceptance, cost, and environmental concerns due to a general lack of knowledge, potential health risks, and standard guidelines . These challenges raise several interrelated questions that should be answered, such as: Can sub-Saharan Africa survive with the infrastructure and framework capacity needed to address (i) water scarcity and (ii) public health protection? How can reclaimed water management be effective in sub-Saharan Africa? How can a nexus between water and other resource sectors be achieved? Finally, can synergies be achieved through dialog and brainstorming involving researchers, policy makers, and local communities in multi-stakeholder platforms? .
Water Reclamation in Sub – Saharan Africa
Water shortages in Africa are often exacerbated by inadequate water and wastewater treatment facilities, particularly due to rapid population growth and urbanization . Globally, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of countries with water scarcity . Most of these countries rely on rainfall and surface water for their supply. In , reclaimed water is described as used more than once before it is returned to the natural water cycle. Reclaimed water as an alternative to complete water supply requires improved wastewater management through wastewater treatment and disposal. According to a 2017 IPCC report, many African countries suffer from high water stress, such as Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia, to name a few. Africa faces different demographics, and many of these countries practice different forms of water reclamation with varying degrees of water quality. Treating the water to the desired quality and transporting it to the point of use can make the project unprofitable. Although water quality limits and guidelines often exist in sub-Saharan Africa, they are often not given much attention.
Wastewater Management in Nigeria
Many of the sewage treatment plants in most African countries are filled with sewage, the most common pollution around cities and groundwater sources . Cities in Nigeria are expected to participate in the global trend of sustainable development, focusing on the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation; it is necessary to understand the existing situation of some urban facilities . Aba, one of Nigeria’s commercial cities, has no sewage collection system. Industrial wastewater is discharged into the Aba River. Over the next decade, pollution and water shortages in the city will likely increase. There are insufficient sewage treatment plants for wastewater treatment, and no efforts are being made to change this situation. In Kano, the third largest city in Nigeria, most residents, and industrial companies do not have sewage treatment plants and discharge their wastewater untreated into the nearest water bodies, according to .
This pollutes the receiving waters, and the polluted water is used for water supply, irrigation, and fisheries, posing a health risk. Due to the continuous demand for water with the growth of nations, industries, and populations, water reclamation is a sustainable water management option. Therefore, it is necessary to understand Nigeria’s current trends, prospects, challenges, social acceptability and technological framework of water reclamation and reuse.
Data Collection and Analysis
This study used the sample survey method (primary data). In the sample survey, questionnaires are completed through a Google form. A purposive sample of 300 participants is recruited, mainly from academic, religious, and other fields. Closed-ended and open-ended questionnaires were formulated and used as the main instrument for data collection.
|A||Demographic information, including gender, age ranks, occupation, educational level, years living in Nigeria||(Q1-Q6)||Multiple Pick|
|B||General views/perception of wastewater reclamation and reuse in Nigeria||(Q1-Q10)||Yes or Maybe|
|C||Specific response on reuse, concern, and preference||(Q1-Q5)||Multiple Pick|
Table 1:Summary of Questionnaire Sections
The results show that Nigerians are well aware of water reclamation and reuse but prefer reuse systems that require little or no human contact, such as flushing toilets, washing cars, and irrigating fields and lawns. Residents will accept reuse through the study if professionals, water reuse experts, and physicians endorse it.
The result also showed that wastewater reuse as an alternative to water resource depletion involves several aspects, including social, environmental, technological, and government policy issues. The result also shows that treatment to a desired quality and transportation of water to the point of use may make the project unprofitable, especially in developing countries. Many studies have already been conducted on the sustainable use of reclaimed water, but the analysis of the survey results also revealed some potential.
- Different scenarios show the need to use reclaimed WW to achieve WEF security in Nigeria.
- Sustainable Agriculture (Irrigation System) Food Production
- Power plant (cooling) and Hydropower (water storage) Energy Production
- Water for domestic use such as washing cars, watering lawns and house cleaning.
The practice of wastewater reclamation and reuse is an age-old practice that has increased in recent years, especially in developed countries. Still, the implementation of water reclamation in sub-Saharan Africa lags. The research has provided insight into the challenges and opportunities of wastewater reuse in Nigeria and the public’s perception of treated wastewater reuse. This enables decision-makers to understand why residents do or do not accept treated wastewater. The research showed that residents welcome the reuse of treated wastewater but demand a reuse system that requires little or no human contact. However, involving professionals, experts, and physicians could help convince residents to use treated wastewater. The study concludes that there is a need to implement an integrated approach, such as decentralization of wastewater management in Nigeria, that is cost-effective and allows for an efficient treatment process.
- Roccaro P, Verlicchi P. Wastewater, and reuse. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health. 2018; 2:61–63.
- Zhou Z, Zhang X, Dong W. Fuzzy Comprehensive Evaluation for Safety Guarantee System of Reclaimed Water Quality. Procedia Environmental Sciences. 2013;18:227 235.
- Amoah P, Drechsel P, Henseler M, et al. Irrigated urban vegetable production in Ghana: microbiological contamination in farms and markets and associated consumer risk groups. J Water Health. 2007;5:455–466.
- Lu W, Leung AYT. A preliminary study on potential of developing shower/laundry wastewater reclamation and reuse system. Chemosphere. 2003;52:1451–1459.
- Bahri A, Drechsel P, Brissaud F. Water reuse in Africa: challenges and opportunities. [place unknown]; 2008.
- Mafuta C, Formo RK, Li F, et al. Green hills, blue cities: An ecosystem approach to water resources management for African cities : a rapid response assessment. Arendal, Norway: United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal; 2011.
- Dos Santos S, Adams EA, Neville G, et al. Urban growth and water access in sub-Saharan Africa: Progress, challenges, and emerging research directions. Sci Total Environ. 2017;607:497–508.
- Jhansi SC, Mishra SK. Emerging Technology in Urban Areas of Developing Countries for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment and Reuse. 2019. DOI: 10.7916/CONSILIENCE.V0I10.3912.
- Omosa IB, Wang H, Cheng S, et al. Sustainable tertiary wastewater treatment is required for water resources pollution control in Africa. 2012. [place unknown]: ACS Publications
 Odurukwe NS (2). Wastewater Non-Management in Aba City, Nigeria, Federal University of Technology Owerri Newsletter, Imo State, Nigeria. Consilience. 2012 [cited 2021 Feb 15]:1–33.
 Mustapha HB. Management of industrial effluents: A review of the experiences in Kano, Northern Nigeria. International Journal of Advanced Research. 2013; 1:213–216.