Water is one of the most important natural resource and Nigeria is considered to be abundantly blessed with water resources. It is used for direct consumption, mineral processing, navigation, livestock, Hydro power production, agricultural and industrial development.

The Water Policy is often understood strictly as the legislation and regulations that underpin water management which includes water right laws, human right laws, and environmental protections.

Water resource policy comprehends the policy making processes that affect the collection, preparation, use and disposal of water to support human uses and protect environmental quality hence promoting the optimum planning, development and use of Nigeria’s water resources.

Nigeria consists of rivers, streams, and lakes as source of water. Inspite of abundant water resources, 75% of Nigerians do not have access to safe drinking or domestic water. A number of agencies are vested with responsibility of providing and managing Nigerians water resources.

The Local Government Authorities are responsible for the provision of potable water to rural communities. Water abstraction for public water supply is guided by the National Water Policy. In order to meet Nigeria’s water supply demand, the policy objectives had been drawn and the guiding principles for implementation.

The National Water Policy provides a framework for addressing these challenges by achieving clear and coherent regulation, autonomy of water service providers, create public awareness about water conservation, accountability in management sector and improve capacity for improved hydropower supply.

The Nigeria’s key challenges to be addressed by the Water Resource Policy are the unevenly distributed water resources and demands, inadequate access to usable water resources to meet the rapid increasing domestic and industrial water demand, the varied groundwater availability detailed study and documentation which is still not yielded including the poor monitoring and control of groundwater.

The guiding principles of the Water Resource Policy pertain to socio-economic and water allocation aspects, protection and conservation of water resources and the environment. The principles ensures that water quality and quantity are interdependent and shall be managed in an integrated manner which is consistent with broader environmental management approaches.


An Act to promote the optimum planning, development and use of the Nigeria’s water resources and other matters connected therewith.

[1993 No. 101.] [23rd August, 1993]       [Commencement.]

1.    Vesting of rights and control of water in the Federal Government, The right to the use and control of all surface and groundwater and of any watercourse affecting more than one State as described in the Schedule to this Act, together with the bed and banks thereof, are by virtue of this Act and without further assurance vested in the Government of the Federation for the purpose of development of Nigeria’s water resources.

 2.    Rights to take and use of water, Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1 of this Act any person who has a statutory or customary right of occupancy to any land, may take and   use water from the underground water source or if abutting on the bank of any watercourse, from that watercourse, without charge for domestic purposes, for watering livestock and for personal irrigation schemes.

3.    Acquisition for rights to use or take water, any person or any public authority may acquire a right to use or take water from any watercourse or any groundwater described in the Schedule to this Act for any purpose in accordance with the provisions of this Act and any regulations made pursuant thereto.

4.    Control of groundwater, Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2 of this Act, the Minister shall have power to Define the places from which or the manner in which and the times at which such water may be taken or used; Prohibit temporarily or permanently, the taking or use of water from any source for such purposes, when in his opinion, the taking or use of such water would be hazardous to health Require to be examined or licensed, any person undertaking the work of drilling for water and  Regulate the place, depth, manner of construction or mode of operation of any borehole or well.

5. The Minister shall have power to impose a license fee at such rates as may be determined on the issue of a license to any person or public authority seeking to construct, operate, maintain, repair or alter any hydraulic works in or adjacent to any water source.

6. Power to impose fees, rates and charges and Penalties such that any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provisions of this Act, or any regulation made thereunder, commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding N2,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment, and, in the case of a continuing offence to an additional fine not exceeding N100 for every day or part of a day that the offence continue.

This rights and policies gives rise to a question on groundwater tapping which goes thus:

Should We Pay To Tap Groundwater And Any Other Source In Nigeria? 

We leave you to share your views with us on the above question as we bring you next; 



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