Water scarcity: States not planning enough for growing population- FG

Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu on Tuesday blamed continuous water scarcity on state government’s refusal to plan for their growing population.

Adamu, who said this at the sideline of a media parley in Abuja said it was worrisome that many states expected the Federal Government to take over the operation and maintenance of their water schemes.

According to him, it is not the duty of the federal government to take over these schemes, but to incentivise them by making bulk water available in dams nationwide.

“The reason why we have been having these challenges of poor water supply is because there has not been proper planning by the state governments, their water schemes and interventions should always be ahead of the population growth.

“That is the only way they can be ahead of adequate water supply, even the issue of wear and tear, lack of proper operation and maintenance will see minimum operational capacity.

“Even if they are operating at proper capacity, that capacity is even half of the current population, that is why we keep advocating to the states to put all the incentives to use’’.

He said the present administration had a budget line of two billion naira to support states in urban water supply through an approval of the National Water Resources Policy by the Federal Executive Council in 2016.

“Apart from Gombe state, hardly has any state come forward because they had not met the requirements, no water supply masterplan, and we put these conditions, not because we want to punish them, but because we want them to do the right thing.

“States need to put these things in place, we cannot just be giving out monies when we are not sure that the money given will make the necessary impact’’.

He said it was worrisome that after the FG had spent six billion naira on the Central Ogbia Water scheme in Bayelsa, it became moribund, with more examples nationwide.

Adamu said the ministry was not mandated to run water supply schemes, treat water and reticulate them, saying that with any project completion, states must sign and adhere to protocols and guidelines.

The minister called for more commitment from states towards eliminating public defecation, saying that only 76 open defecation-free local government areas in the country was not impressive.

He said the ministry had trained and inaugurated 77,400 youth volunteers to act as hygiene ambassadors aimed at scaling up sanitation and hygiene in the country.

Adamu said the National Youth Volunteer Programme on Handwashing was Federal Government’s intervention scheme to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and end open defecation practices in the country.

According to him, the engagement of 100 youth volunteers in each of the 774 local government areas entailed community sensitisation and awareness creation on safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices.

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