The Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Support Programme, Nigeria

2009, 2011; Nigeria; Atkins Water, European Development Fund

Water supply and sanitation in Nigeria is characterised by low levels of access to an improved water source and limited access to improved sanitation.

Responsibility for water supply and sanitation is split between Federal, State and local levels of government but is not clearly defined, particularly with regard to sanitation. Water supply service quality and cost recovery are low, water tariffs are low and many water users do not pay their bills. Monitoring and evaluation in the sector is weak, available data are incomplete and unreliable and are not useful for sound decision making.

Working in six states and at Federal level, WS Atkins, Itad and Enplan implemented phase 1 of the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Support Programme (WSSSRP), which was intended to establish a clearer policy and institutional framework at Federal and State level and to support to the planning, rehabilitation and management of water supply and sanitation infrastructure in urban areas and small towns. Phase 2 seeks to consolidate earlier achievements and to establish a more sustainable government response to persistent water supply and sanitation problems.


Drawing on our substantial experience of public sector reform and governance in Nigeria, we are applying a change management approach to ensure effective engagement and sustainable results. This includes the use of political economy analysis to ensure a strategic approach to supporting positive incentives for reform. During phase 1 we worked in close collaboration with government but through parallel structures comprising a Project Coordination Office in Abuja and State Technical Units in each of the six States. In phase 2 we retain a PMU in Abuja but our states team are embedded in the state government ministries for water supply and sanitation.


By the end of phase 1 we had delivered all outputs specified in the TOR – most notably a National Water Resources Policy was adopted by Federal Government and a draft National Water Resources Strategy was prepared. But the institutional foundations for continued progress remained fragile. Phase 2 will build on these achievements but pay greater attention to the institutional foundations and to sustainable change.

Image © Fetching-Water. Photo Credit: David Fleming

For more information please contact:

Dane Rogers
T: +44 (0)1273 765250