Access to clean water for drinking and other domestic activities remains an issue, particularly for developing countries like Nigeria. Due to the global increase in population, water demand has increased quantitatively and qualitatively over time. This paper comprehensively reviews the quality of water sources utilised for consumption in northern Nigeria during the last decade. It was found that well, and borehole water is the significant sources of drinking water in northern Nigeria, with little or no well-established networks of pipe-borne water across the region. The portability of these sources was generally poor, with about 55.74% reported to be unfit for consumption. Approximately 31.14% in the north were (as categorised) fair – can be utilised for consumption but requires additional treatment to prevent disease outbreak and health implications due to contaminations associated with some critical physicochemical, biological, and radiological parameters that do not conform to the world health organisation (WHO) standards. With 2030 in sight as a deadline to meet the sustainable development goals (DGs), particularly goal six (6), it is unfortunate that only 13.11% of clean water is accessible to the northern Nigerian populace. With this, it is acceptable to say that access to clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 in northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large may not be feasible unless all concerned stakeholders swing into action. Failure to achieve SDG goal six will make it very hard for Nigeria to achieve SDGs as all other goals are directly or indirectly linked to it.
Keywords: Clean water, sustainability assessment, physicochemical, Northern Nigeria, water assessment.