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NGO Assists FG to Improve Sanitation, Water in Rivers

| May 31, 2013 More

The Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) has embarked on a scheme aimed at improving and expanding the delivery of water and sanitation services in urban and semi-urban settings across the country.

The programme, which is being funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hopes to bring Nigeria closer to attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The scheme which its implementation would begin in Port Harcourt, Rivers state would assist the Federal Government of Nigeria to carry out critical reforms in the water and sanitation sectors in order to improve urban water services and delivery.

According to the Team Leader designate, Rivers State, Dr. Joachim Ezeji, the SUWASA intervention in Rivers state would focus on strengthening the regulatory environment and establishing a regulatory commission and to enhance the functions of the Port Harcourt Water Corporation and the Small Town Water Agency.

Ezeji explained that the programme works to achieve long-term financial sustainability through the application of market-based principles in a collaborative approach with governments and service providers.

He revealed that a rapid baseline assessment carried out by SUWASA in September 2012 identified low level of cost recovery, inadequate reticulation, water distribution losses as a result of degraded infrastructure and outright water theft as some of the factors militating against water services sustainability.

He further said that the extant threat of climate change, especially threats of sea level rise, salt water intrusion and flooding amongst others makes the Rivers state intervention most urgent.

He said: “Improving services in water supply and sanitation is one of the major concerns globally, especially in the context of urbanisation and meeting the demands of providing potable water to more than 70 million Nigerians who live in the urban areas.

“The age-long challenges of sustainable water supply services in parts of Rivers state and other states in the country will soon be a thing of the past.”

“The program’s ultimate goal is to improve and expand the delivery of water and sanitation services in urban and peri-urban settings and bring Nigeria closer to achieving the MDGs, while emphasising a response to the particular needs of the urban poor,” he added.

Ezeji further argued that SUWASA would achieve water services resilience to all the threats and weaknesses by identifying, promoting and transferring good practices in urban water supply and sanitation reform and governance across the globe.

In addition to technical assistance, he explained that SUWASA support incorporates capacity building and a limited degree of financial support for infrastructure improvements and commodity procurement, as needed to help assure initiative success.

It could be recalled that the Rivers state SUWASA project is a follow -up to the on-going successful SUWASA intervention in Bauchi State.

“It is currently in tandem with that of Ebonyi state which will support Ebonyi state government to implement critical reforms in the urban water sector including creating an institutional framework that will help clarify the mandates of different State water sector institutions and creating an enabling environment for the Ebonyi State Water Board (EBSWB) to exercise full financial and operational autonomy to ensure increased efficiency and accountability in its operations,” Ezeji disclosed.

Launched on September 30, 2009, SUWASA is managed by the newly created Office of Water, with technical direction and substantial involvement from the Africa Bureau, Office of Sustainable Development of the USAID, while Tetra Tech is implementing SUWASA, in association with a consortium of US, international, and African organisations, herein referred to as the Tetra Tech Team.

Category: Bauchi State News

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