BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR
Federal Government on Thursday announced that it has awarded a total number of 163 contracts at total sum of over N2.6billion for the execution of water supply projects across the country over the last three years of the present administration.
Engr. Suleiman Adamu, who stated this in Abuja at the 25th Edition of the National Council of Water Resources, said the Federal Government had provided 195 solar powered boreholes with 113 hand pump boreholes to various communities in the country in a bid to address the problem of rural water supply.
Adamu said as a result of the huge investments in the water sector within the timeframe that 820 people were provided with direct and indirect jobs.
On sanitation, he said contracts for construction of 18 sanitation facilities at a total sum of over N215million were awarded and completed in the three states of the North East which include Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
He noted that 9 nine water projects with a combined capacity of N63, 650,000 litres per day serving a population of about 1,475,000 people have been completed.
The projects, according to him, are located in Central Ogbia, Northern Ishan, Ojirami Dam, Takum, VOM, Mangu, Ekeremor, Sabre, Dutsi, Mashi and Pategi.
He noted that six water project are on-going and are scheduled to be completed in 2018, while the remaining three projects are to be completed in 2019.
The minister further announced that Kashimbilla multipurpose dam project with a height of 35metres and reservoir capacity of over 500 cubic metres has been completed and is waiting commissioning.
According to him, “The Kashimbilla multipurpose dam project has a 60,000 cubic metres capacity with water treatment plant to supply potable water to Takum and Jato-Aka towns and their adjoining communities, irrigate 2000 hectares of land, generate 40 megawatts of electricity as well as for fishery and tourism purposes to its primary flood control due to releases from Lagdo Dam in Cameroun.”
While underscoring the indispensability of water to human existence, Adamu said water is central to national development as it has important linkages to health, education, agriculture, rural development and environment.
He noted that water has direct and rapid impact to poverty eradication, cost of industrial production and employment, adding that water is one of the world’s most valuable resources.
He pointed out that provision of water supply systems in Nigeria requires the use of existing, emerging and innovative technologies that are sustainable.
The minister however stated that Federal Government alone cannot fund all water and sanitation projects if Sustainable Development Goal [SDG-6] would be achieved.
Also speaking, Chairman, Senate Committee on Water Resources, Sen. Ubali Shittu, lamented that despite the huge investments in the water sector, access to potable water supply and adequate sanitation continues to decline.
According to him, “It is a matter of necessity that government needs to do more in the provision of potable water supply and sanitation.
“It is very sad to observe that in the 21st Century, Nigeria is still battling with the provision of potable water supply and adequate sanitation.
“Statistics has shown that access to water supply is only 29 per cent of the populace has access to sanitation.
“The problem is more pronounced in the urban areas where access to pipe borne water has declined from 32per cent in 1990 to only 7per cent in 2015.
“Sanitation has worsened from 38per cent to 17 per cent. In many places, women and children walk miles away in search of water, which is often contaminated.
“Children lose value school hours in search of water. This is not good for this nation. All hands must be on deck to proffer solutions to this challenge.”
Shittu pledged the support of the National Assembly to ensure that the perennial challenge of potable water supply and sanitation was addressed in the country, calling for collaboration with all critical stakeholders, state governments to close the yawning gaps in the water sector.