Water Scarcity Raises Disease Fears In States

The scarcity of potable water is affecting the day-to-day activities of many Nigerians across the country and exposing them to various health hazards, Daily Trust investigations have shown. The Minister of Water Resources Engineer Hussaini Adamu had last month during the 2019 water day declared that “there is no state or city in this country that can boast of

100 percent pipe borehole water supply, none. He said many states have refused to prioritise the provision of water supply, by refusing to reticulate the bulk water provided in dams and river basins to houses. According to the minister, constitutionally, the actual provision of water supply to the tap is the responsibility of state governments and local governments.
    A report released last year by the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) said 90 percent of households in Nigeria consume contaminated water and other impure substances. According to the report, 90.8 percent of households in Nigeria drink water contaminated by faeces and other impure substances. The MICS report was carried out in 2017 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with UNICEF.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF had in 2012 ranked Nigeria third behind China and India as countries with the largest population without adequate water supply and sanitation coverage. The acute water shortage is ballooning despite billions of naira budgeted for water resources by the federal and the 36 state governments annually. Our reporters said many Nigerians, especially those living in the state capitals, have resorted to using water from boreholes “indiscriminately dug without recourse to any health guidelines. In Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Federal Government, last Wednesday, approved a memo for the award of contract for supply of water and field for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Water Board at the sum of N368 million including five per cent VAT. But potable water has remained scarce. Even in the city centre such as Maitama, Wuse II, Asokoro, residents rely mostly on boreholes for most of their daily water needs. Residents spoken to in Jahi, a suburb of the FCT, urged the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to tackle the perennial water scarcity in the area. In rural parts of the FCT also, many residents rely on streams for water.
    The inability of the Gombe State Water Board to provide potable water to residents of Gombe metropolis has thrown most households into untold hardship. Our correspondent, who went round Gombe metropolis, said for months the taps of the few areas connected to the main water treatment plant are not running. This has forced most residents to rely on commercial boreholes as an alternative, even though at exorbitant prices. Also, those who cannot afford to buy from the private vendors spend hours on queues at such boreholes which cost less. The residential areas mostly affected by the scarcity are Tudun Wada, Bolari, Pantami, Herwagana, Kumbiya-Kumbiya, Jekadafari, and Malam Inna area, among others. In Tudun Wada, for instance, there has been no supply from the state water corporation for months. Even in areas like Jekadafari where the taps run, a check by our correspondent shows that the supply has ceased for the past one month. Even highbrow areas like GRA, New GRA, Federal Low Cost, Buba Shongo, Shongo Housing Estate, Orji Estate and Abuja quarters are also feeling the impact of the scarcity. The residents who are mostly wealthy rely on commercial water tankers for water. However, the scarcity-hit most at the newly established residential areas like Arawa, Kagarawal, Riyal quarters, Bomala, Nayi Nawa, Alkahira, Unguwa Uku and Tunfure quarters, because they are not even connected to public water scheme.

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