Nigerian government promises water supply to 57 Niger-Delta communities

Nigerian government promises water supply to 57 Niger-Delta communities

Monday, March 9, 2015 4:35 pm

Dr. Steve Oru, Nigeria's Minister of Niger Delta

Dr. Steve Oru, Nigeria’s Minister of Niger Delta

The Federal Government on Monday promised that about 57 communities in five states in the Niger Delta Region would benefit from the government’s community water project.

The promise was echoed by Dr. Steve Oru, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, during an interview session with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

He said the benefitting communities are in Imo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Ondo and Delta states.

However, some Nigerians would believe it is the usual promise coming from their government that is known to have little or no belief in fulfilling its promises or obligations to its people.

Many others would call it a mere promise carved out from politics, especially as the presidential election draw near. The election would hold on 28 March.

He said that three water supply projects in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states had been completed, while others were awaiting financial appropriation for award.

He said that rural communities in the Niger Delta region had difficulties accessing potable water.

“Water supply is the greatest unmet challenge in rural areas, mainly caused by either poor design or lack of maintenance.
“Only 45 per cent of rural communities in the South-South region have improved sanitation, even improved pit latrines.

“Field visits by the ministry documented that only about one quarter of the piped water systems were observed to be in functional condition.

“In many communities, this tragedy is compounded by the numerous dysfunctional water projects of varying ages and designs seen close by.

“Some are unfinished. Most have broken down or are missing a simple spare part.

“Typically, the only reliable source for these rural residents remains the unsafe water of the nearby creek,” Oru said

The minister also said that reasons for poor water supply were often technical and human rather than a function of nature.

Oru noted that in off-grid communities, hand pumps or solar water systems with tank, tower water filtration (for taste) and standpipes, were often seen.

“Generators are expensive and rare and thus far, applications of solar technology to water pumps have been hampered by inappropriate engineering requiring conversion from AC (solar) to DC (pump).

“Conversion is a weak link, apparently causing over 90 per cent of system failure in a recent NDDC solar water project. AC pumps are available,” he added.

The minister said that even appropriate technology, however, required maintenance.

According to him, on the average, a community requires technical support for two years after a system is installed in order to fully grasp the need for community management or paying small user fees to cover the cost of repairs.

Oru observed that the rural water management habit had yet to penetrate most rural Niger Delta communities, adding that in the riverine areas, reaching good quality water might require drilling up to 250 feet.

“Shallower wells may suffer from salt intrusion or run dry, hence, water system can be costly to install. Improved sanitation remains a great challenge for three-quarters of rural communities in the region.

“Human habits will require intensive efforts to transform and yet the benefits of good sanitation are the bedrock of modern preventive health.”

According to Oru, the construction of low-cost ventilated pit, VIP, latrines is a quick-win solution.

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