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Bauchi residents cry out: ‘Water scarcity is killing us’

| May 30, 2012 More

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Titus Yohanna, a resident of Bigi village in Bauchi Local Government area is optimistic that potable water will soon be restored in his community, just as Mohammed Inuwa, who resides in Yelwa Kagadam is quite happy with the recent construction of taps in his area.

Others like Mrs. Dora Okeemute, a housewife in Bauchi GRA, are, however, worried that of recent, the taps have stopped running.

Indeed, in many parts of the state capital, the absence of potable water has become a source of worry to many residents.

The state says it is currently tackling the water challenge within the metropolis and in the villages.  “It is not something that is impossible,” the commissioner for water resources, Alhaji Sani Bura explains.

At a mosque in Yelwa Kagadama, children are playing excitedly as they fetch water from the new taps which have been running.

“This is a very good development,” Mr. Fred who lives in the area says. “I go there to fetch water when it starts running. It has been wonderful since then.”

Elsewhere in Rafin Zurfi, new boreholes are being constructed. “I understand that it is the government that has been working on the boreholes. We are happy because we experience water problem in this area,” Chidi Onmyekachi, a resident of Rafin Zurfi area near Doka village said.

For those living in Nassarawa, Makwalla, Yakubu Wanka Kobi and Jahun,  they enjoy water supply every three days. “When water comes, it lasts for between two and three hours,” Usseiru Alamin, a resident of Kobi said.

Daily Sun investigation shows that areas like Gwalameji, GRA, Wunti Dada and Bigi are suffering as water scarcity hits the metropolis.

“Actually, we have a very bad road from Gudum Hausawa and Gudum Seyawa to our village. But what we need most is water,” Titus says.

Although they have taken it for granted before, it has not been so in recent times for residents of the GRA. They say water has not rushed in their taps for some days.

According to a housewife in the area: “My children now go to school late because they have to fetch water from the well in the neighbourhood every day. In our area, we have not had water running in our taps for more than three weeks now,” a housewife based in GRA says, pleading anonymity.

She explains that her family now finds it difficult to get water in the GRA, especially when her husband is out of town.

“When he is not around, we take jerry cans to his friend’s place. There is a borehole there.”

The shortage of potable water is coming as a surprise for residents like Ya’u Suleiman, a civil servant in Tambari Housing Estate along Bauchi-Jos Road. We haven’t seen water in our taps for some weeks,” he asserts.

It is the same sad story for residents of Doctors Quarters who have grappled with the problem for over three weeks. “We buy water from vendors,” they inform.

For residents of Army Barracks and Fadaman Mada, they enjoy water supply every day except on Saturdays. “That is the only time we don’t have water running in the taps,” a resident says.

But for people living in Railway, Federal Low cost, Yalwa and Wuntin Dada, among other areas, water is as scarce and costly as gold. They lament that they have not had water in their taps for more than three months.

It is believed that the shortage is caused by inadequate electricity to pump water to households. Also, the influx of people from the neighbouring states affected by the security challenges is believed to have caused a sharp increase in the demand for water.

Why water is scarce

Officials in the state Ministry of Water Resources believe that the water demand of 200 million litres per day has not been met, as only about 30 million litres per day is available to the people.

Daily Sun learnt that the Gubi Dam is operating below its current installed capacity of 77 million litres per day, an expert tells the reporter. 

The Bauchi State Water Board is the agency responsible for provision of potable water to cover all urban areas in the state. Daily Sun learnt that its operations are now only limited to Bauchi and other four towns even with a staff strength of 554.

With customers put at only about 18,000, the tariff is flat rate between N500 and N1000 per month, making the revenue they contribute less than N3million per month, which cannot match its N30million monthly expenses.

Govt on top of the situation, says commissioner

But the commissioner believes that government would overcome the challenge. Speaking during his recent visit to Gubi Dam Water Treatment Plant, the commissioner revealed that the state needs 70million gallons of water daily against the 12.5million gallons of water daily produced by Gubi Dam Water Treatment Plant.

The commissioner explained that the two treatment plants at the dam produce 12.5 million gallons of water daily to the inhabitants of Bauchi metropolis and environs.

“This is grossly inadequate for the fast growing populace in the state capital which requires no less than 70 million gallons of water on a daily basis,” he said.

Burra said that in the interim, a contract worth N725.2 million for the sinking of 57 boreholes in different locations within the Bauchi metropolis and its environs has been awarded by the Bauchi state government.

He said the state government has awarded the contract for the construction of the 57 boreholes to augment the demand for water in the state capital and its environs. 

He explained: “We have observed that Bauchi State has a fast growing population and this is due to the influx of immigrants from neighbouring states, who came to seek refuge in the state as a result of crisis. So, you can see that it is not so easy to solve the issue of water scarcity at once; it is a gradual process that will take time.

“The project for the construction of the 57 boreholes has reached an advanced stage and very soon, water will become more available to the people of the state,” he said.

He noted that inadequate power supply in the state has also affected the way water is being generated in the capital as well as other parts of the state, saying that the water board had to depend on generators, which he lamented was very cost demanding.

Burra said the state government has created the Agency for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, (RUWASSA) to handle issues relating to the repairs and replacement of existing water facilities and provision of funds to operate and maintain existing facilities to tackle water problems.

Category: Bauchi State News

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