by David Odom
The Federal Government says access to potable water in the country has increased from 58% to 65% in the last two years. Minister of Water Resources Mrs. Sarah Ockekpe announced this in Abuja while presenting the Mid-term scorecard of her ministry at the ongoing 2013 Ministerial Platform.
Citing a recent national assessment, the Minister informed Nigerians that water sanitation equally scaled up from 32% to 41% within the period under review.
She said the increase in access to potable water was largely due to the completion of water supply projects across the country.
Mrs. Ochekpe mentioned some of the completed projects to include Northern Ishan Water Supply Project in Edo, Mangu Water Treatment Plant in Plateau, Greater Makurdi Water Supply Scheme, rehabilitation 1000 dysfunctional hand-pumps in 18 states and the completion of 545 hand-pumps and 885 motorised/solar powered boreholes across the country.
She said within the period under review, the Federal Government collaborated with some development partners and donor agencies to execute the Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Programme in Niger, Katsina and Ekiti States.
She listed other projects as “EU assisted Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme in Adamawa, Delta, Ekiti, Anambra, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano, Osun and Yobe States.
“JICA assisted Rural Water Supply Programme in Oyo, Kano, Yobe, Bauchi, Kebbi, Niger, Enugu, Taraba and Ondo states. Chinese assisted Rural Water Supply Programme in 18 states and the FCT”, she disclosed.
In the same vein, the World Bank and African Development Bank assisted in the implementation of Urban Sector Reform Water Projects in Kaduna, Ogun, Enugu, Cross River, Taraba, Lagos and Osun states.
Furthermore, Mrs. Ochekpe stated that “substantial progress was made in the construction, operation and maintenance of dams nationwide for water supply, hydro-power, flood control, irrigation, fisheries development, tourism and recreation”.
She said with the completion of nine dams in different parts of the country, the volume of water stored in the nation’s reservoirs increased by 422 MCM.
Some of the dams completed and ready for commissioning include the Ibiano Ibom Dam, Dutsi Dam, Mashi Dam, Galma Multipurpose Dam, Amauzari Dam, and Owena Dam Treatment Plant.
According to her, the ministry also effected the transfer of water from Gurara Dam to Lower Usuma Dam to the tune of 100 MCM to augment water supply to the FCT.
Similarly, water was also transferred from Alau Dam to Maiduguri Metropolis, Goronyo Dam to Sokoto, Oyan Dam to Lagos and Abeokuta, Ikere Gorge Dam to Iseyin Town in Oyo State, Dadin Kowa Dam to Gombe, Tiga and Challawa Gorge Dams to Kano Metropolis and Owiwi Dam to Abeokuta.
In his opening remarks, Information Minister Mr. Labaran Maku said the present administration had created a synergy between water supply and agriculture with a view to boosting food production in the country.