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.
Taps not running in Gombe for months
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 spent 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.
Commercial water vendors who sell water inside a cart containing 10 jerry cans cost as much as N300 or more depending on the location and number of commercial boreholes available in the area.
Outrage over water shortage
According to Musa Saleh, a teacher in one of the secondary schools in the state, who resides at Alkahira quarters, he spent N1000 weekly on the water used in his house.
“In our area, the whole 10 jerry cans cost N240 and also spent N8000 weekly for the overhead tank. Therefore, on water alone, I spent over N3000 monthly. And as a teacher my monthly salary is not up to N30, 000 and I have a wife and our newborn baby, you can imagine the difficulties,” Musa said.
At Federal Low Cost, GRA and Tunfure quarters, which are highbrow areas the residents mostly, patronize private water tankers who filled their overhead tanks at the cost of N1500 and above.
Umar Abubakar, who resides at Tumfure quarters, said he spent about N4000 monthly on water alone because the area is not even connected with water pipelines.
“I used to buy a water tank which cost about N5000 and it cannot last more than two weeks, therefore I have to buy at least two tanks every month which roughly cost me more than N5000 monthly.
Population explosion responsible for scarcity
The General Manager of the Gombe State Water Board, Engineer Isa Muhammad, said the scarcity was created due to the influx of people into the metropolis, which overstretched the initial design of the water treatment plant and inconsistent electricity supply.
He said: “When the treatment plant in Dadin Kowa town, some 40 kilometres from Gombe metropolis, was constructed in 2006 it has the capacity to treat 50, 000 cubic metres of water every day to supply 260, 000 population. It has an expansion plan to 70, 000 cubic meters to provide water to 300, 000 population by the year 2015,” he said.
In Kogi, power cripples water supply
In Kogi, residents of Lokoja, the state capital and its environs have been facing acute water scarcity over the past few weeks.
Our correspondent observed that water supply to homes from the Greater Lokoja Water Works had stopped since March 27.
Residents in many parts of Lokoja such as Adankolo, Gadumo, Lokongoma, Felele, Barracks, Ganaja, 200 Housing Unit and New Layout, amongst others, now depend on water from well and water vendors.
The Greater Lokoja Waterworks built by the administration of former Governor Ibrahim Idris at a cost of N12 billion has the capacity to treat and reticulate 600 million litres of water per day to residents of Lokoja and its environs.
Speaking on the development, the public relations officer in the state Ministry of Water Resources, Musa Usman, said the water treatment plant was shut down as a result of electro-mechanical problems.
According to him, four of the six heavy high lift pumps at the plant are down while there is also a major burst on the main supply line.
Sokoto thirsty because of river deflation
The deflation of River Rima, the main source of water for the treatment plants as well as damage to the main electricity transformer that serves the treatment and pumping plants is making Sokoto thirsty.
Sokoto State Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Umar Muhammad Bature, had last week disclosed that the problems had been rectified as the state government sought the release of water from the Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority while a new transformer was installed for the Water Board plants.
Residents of Sokoto were seen searching for water desperately.
Residents of UDUTH quarters said the taps were yet to start running, while those of Tudun Wada, Kofar Kade, Makeera Assada, Gidan Igwai, among others, said they were not getting water even before the recent water scarcity.
‘Bauchi water shortage is legendary’
Bauchi metropolis has been suffering from endless water scarcity for years. The few solar motorised and hand pump boreholes provided by the government, individuals and NGOs in many places across the metropolis have become the only sources of water to the residents.
Findings by our reporter in many parts of the metropolis and its environs reveal that the water scarcity was more than what was experienced the previous year.
As it stands now, there appears to be no end in sight to the perennial water shortage in Bauchi metropolis.
Our reporter gathered that a combination of factors led to the perennial water shortage in the metropolis, some of which include old pipeline network and lack of electricity at the Gubi Dam Water Treatment plant.
The head of Bauchi Water and Sewerage Corporation, Engineer Aminu Gital said lack of electricity is the major challenge causing water scarcity in Bauchi.
Broken machines make Katsina dry
The breakdown of water pumping machines at Ajiwa Water Works in Katsina has further worsened the provision of water supply to the metropolis and environs, Daily Trust reports.
For the past one month, the Ajiwa Water Works with a designed capacity of treating 50 million liters per day for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes has been shut down.
The managing director of the state water board Babangida Abubakar said water supply would resume as soon as possible as new pumping machines have been ordered by the state government.
He said the state government had decided to replace the old pumping machines with new ones to ensure constant water supply to the residents.
Water shortage causes many diseases -Doctor
A medical expert with AHF Nigeria, Dr Balogun Stephen, said shortage of water supply has grave implications on public health.
He said the scarcity of water could lead to an increase in cases of water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and skin rashes as people would be forced to utilize water from unhygienic sources.
According to him, people are also at risk of dehydration with the resultant effect of body weaknesses and exhaustion due to inadequate intake of water, especially during this hot weather condition.
He, therefore, urged the authority concerned to rectify whatever the issues are and ensure restoration water supply to the people in the interest of public health.