By Monday Ocheja
Water they say is life, and unless one finds it, the struggle for obtaining it will continue against all odds.
This may be the experience of residents of Kaduna metropolis and environs who have been experiencing water scarcity for more than a year now.
The experience has led many well to do residents to dig water boreholes in their houses. It has also led many families to queue up in front of houses where taps were provided by borehole owners.
This is happening simply because the public water taps have run dry, due to non-supply by the state water agency, and majority of alternative sources like wells, streams and rivers have dried up.
Except for the additional intervention by some organisations like UNICEF and other NGOs that provide boreholes in communities, there seems to be no solution in the interim, and the hope continues to appear dim.
Kaduna city has continued to expand, just as new settlements are springing up and population increasing in the northern, southern, eastern and western axis of the metropolis.
Kaduna state is located in northwest Nigeria, and currently has a population of about 10 million people.
In the past, residents of the city only experience water shortages long into the dry season. However, recently the story has been changing, probably due to climate change – where the water levels remain low, or keeps depleting in rivers and wells, nowadays the scarcity is experienced in some areas even during the raining season.
Explaining the situation to AFRICA PRIME NEWS, a resident of Narayi, Christiana Obadiah, said “I can’t remember the last time our tap functioned, and since our wells can’t give us the needed water for our daily needs, we resort to getting it from boreholes around the community, drilled by RUWASSA, but for the private boreholes belonging to individuals, you know that there’ll be long queues.
“Could this be the result of global warming affecting our environments, Or the increase in population which increases water usage and overwhelmed the water corporation?” she asked.
Also speaking, Mrs Joy Mindat, a resident of Narayi, said, “the water shortage is seriously telling on homes. The state water agency only supplies water once or twice in a month now, if not for a borehole on the street here, it would have been hell, a times we even argue and fight at the borehole.
“We usually wake up very early in the morning to queue up for our water needs, when most residents are still asleep. Sometimes we wait until midday, when others had left for work to go and fetch the water. It may surprise you to know that people from another neighbourhood also join us here,” she said.
A school pupil at one of the boreholes told AFRICA PRIME NEWS, “we have to wake up as early as 5am to fetched water before going to school. Sometimes we cover quite a distance, this depends on the availability of electricity to power the nearby boreholes, or the public hand borehole, which is just beside our house – if it’s in good condition. You can see that right now it is not working, it got spoilt two days ago.”
Explaining the situation, Managing Director of Kaduna State Water Corporation (KADSWAC), Sanusih Maikudi, told journalists that one of the major challenges confronting the corporation is aging infrastructure, which has led to alarming Water scarcities in the state since first quarter of 2022.
His statement is the first in many months explaining why Kaduna metropolis is experiencing water shortage.
“We are founded in the 1920s, by 2020, we became 100yrs old, so all our underground infrastructure are still the same. Like the original pipes, their lifespan is 40yrs with the moratorium of 10yrs, so you can use them for 50yrs maximum. So, if they had been installed in 1930, by 1980 they should have gone, between 1980 and 2022 you have 42yrs in arrears, so it is an inherited challenge.” He said.
According to him, “over 90% of our inputs are imported, water treatment, chemicals, machineries, pipes, transformers, aluminium conductors, even simple equipment in the labs are all imported.
“And then power supply, power is inadequately supplied and is very expensive. You need energy to work and you want to switch to solar energy, the initial cost of investment is very large.
“And there is demographic explosion in Nigeria, when I was in secondary school the population of Nigeria was 80m and now we are over 200m.”
He however said the government is working on a project that will make water supply sufficient in the state, which according to him, will give birth to a new ultramodern water treatment plant, while the corporation is working to improve its services.
“We have a project called “Greater Kaduna”, the new population of Kaduna was assessed, it was determined that for us to do justice to water supply, we need a new dam, and a site has been identified in Kajuru LGA.
“So the FG has agreed to build a new multipurpose dam, the name of the project is “Greater Kaduna Metropolitan Water Supply and Sanitation project”.
“With the new dam, Kaduna State government has agreed to build a new ultramodern water treatment plant with a capacity of 300m litres per day.
“The multipurpose dam will provide power, irrigation, tourism and water supply, Kaduna State will take one of the four services of the dam to do water treatment plant and the treatment plant will be constructed close to the dam, so that all the villages on the way will get water before it gets to the centre, the reason is if you bring it to the center to process, you to take it back to them.
“Each neighbourhood like, Sabo, Makera and Rigasa will have their own reservoir, it is a comprehensive plan. AFDB and Islamic bank have agreed to work with the state government and the FG to actualise it.” He explained.