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North-East stakeholders seek increased investment in water

Experts in the environment sector have urged governments and other stakeholders in the North-East to increase investment in water infrastructure to ensure adequate provision of water for the people.

The experts, including environmentalists, engineers and government officials, said the investment would help to address water-related challenges.

They made the call while responding to a survey on water supply systems in Bauchi, Damaturu, Dutse, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola.

According to them, water is critical to human existence because no one can survive without it.

Nuhu Solomon, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) expert in Damaturu, stressed the need for more investment in water infrastructure to enhance water supply services in the state. He said there was an urgent need for upgrade and regular maintenance of water plants that no longer provide sufficient water to consumers due to the growing population.

“It is important to know the number of boreholes we have in Damaturu and the quantity of daily water supply. Whether the source is groundwater or surface water like dams, there must be cost recovery if the supply is to be sustained,” he said.

The expert advised governments to regulate indiscriminate drilling of boreholes to mitigate depletion of groundwater.

Abdulkadir Muhammad, a resident of the Godiya Miyetti area of Dutse, said they relied on unwholesome water from vendors popularly called “Yangaruwa.”

He said the residents have been experiencing water scarcity, a trend forcing them to patronise water vendors despite impurities and exorbitant prices.

“A 25-litre keg of water is being sold at N50 as against its old price of N30,” he said.

Also, Hassan Umar, a resident of Takur Site, decried the acute water scarcity despite available boreholes in the area. He said the existing handpumps could not meet the high demand for water due to the growing population in the area.

However, Abba Suraj, a resident of Kazaure town in the Kazaure local government area of the state, commended the federal government for executing a small water scheme project.

He said the project was designed with a 10 million litres daily supply capacity, adding that the gesture enhanced access to potable water in the area.

Similarly, the Bauchi State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) said it had provided 470 hand pumps in rural communities across the 20 local government areas of the state in the past two years.

Mohammed Babagana, mobilisation officer of the agency, said the government, in collaboration with development partners, initiated viable projects to enhance access to safe drinking water in major towns and rural dwellings across the state.

“The state government, in collaboration with the British Department for International Development (DFID) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are implementing the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project in 12 LGAs,” Mr Babagana explained. “About 60 hand pumps and 150 toilets had been provided in health facilities and schools under the project across the state.”

According to him, environmental workers are trained to fast-track implementation and sustainability of water and sanitation services at the grassroots. He said the state government had developed a comprehensive action plan to improve water supply in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

RUWASA said it had drilled 329 boreholes and rehabilitated 130 handpumps and 30 solar-powered boreholes across the 11 LGAs of Gombe.

Sa’ad Yuguda, sector lead, WASH project of the agency, disclosed that additional 84 handpumps and 17 solar motorised boreholes had been procured for installation in communities across the state.

The project is implemented in collaboration between the state and the federal ministry of water resources. The project focuses on addressing challenges in communities prone to water scarcity.

He listed benefitting communities to include Balanga, Funakye, Kwami, and Dukku, among others.

“The African Development Bank (AfDB) is also providing support for rehabilitation and procurement of 84 handpumps and 17 boreholes in the state. ’The intervention spread across communities, public facilities and other strategic places. We look at the gap as and plan to cover everywhere,” said Mr Yuguda.

Hassan Kaigama, Adamawa’s commissioner for water resources, said the government had embarked on upgrading water schemes in eight LGAs of the state. He said six of the projects had reached about 95 per cent completion and listed the communities to include Gombi, Song, Michika, Uba, Maiha and Madigali.

Mr Kaigama disclosed that four other water treatment plants in Jimeta, Yola and Numan were functional, adding that the Mubi plant was being upgraded. He also announced plans to establish additional water schemes in collaboration with USAID and the European Union (EU) across the state.

According to him, the projects are part of a comprehensive programme to enhance access to potable water in rural communities across the state. He further identified vandalism as a major bane towards achieving sustainable water supply and urged the communities to take ownership of the facilities and protect it.

In Borno, Umar Sadiq, communications officer of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said the organisation, in collaboration with the water resources ministry, planned to build a mega water production and distribution facility in the state.

Mr Sadiq also said the project was designed to upgrade production and reticulation systems to enhance the Maiduguri metropolis’s water supply, providing an additional nine million litres of water in addition to the five million litres sourced from 10 boreholes in the area.

“It is envisaged that about 150,000 people will benefit from the project,” he said, adding the organisation had earlier rehabilitated 44 water facilities to ensure (a) steady supply to 93,619 persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency,” he explained. 

He also mentioned that the projects were in Maiduguri, Rann, Monguno, Damboa and Dikwa.

The water resources commissioner, Tijjani Alkali-Goni, said the government had rehabilitated 305 boreholes across the 27 LGAs of the state and that some 16,000 litres of fuel were supplied weekly to water schemes to facilitate uninterrupted supply to the Maiduguri metropolis. 

(NAN)

Source: Peoples Gazette.

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