OKUTA (KWARA) – Residents of Okuta in the Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara has cried out for help over the perennial water shortage in the border community.
A cross-section of the people who spoke with newsmen urged governments at all levels to urgently alleviate their plight of lack of adequate potable water supply in the community.
Malam Aliyu Umar, the Gunubero of Okuta, told the newsmen that the waterworks in the community had not been operated in the last three years, to supply it with pipe-borne water.
This, according to the traditional ruler, is due to its network of pipes, which have gone bad.
“Our major problem here is the distribution network, which has gone bad. The pipes have become broken in the last three years and nothing has been done about restoring the network.
“There is need for new pipes to be laid and for the distribution network to be extended to other areas that were not covered in the past, because of the rapid growth of the town”, he said.
The Gunubero said that the present sources of water in the community were through wells, hand pumps and one motorised borehole, which he said, were not adequate for the town’s population.
“We are seriously facing the problem of perennial water shortage. It has started now and if you come here by January, you will pity our situation,” he told newsmen.
Umar explained that shortage of water was peculiar to Okuta than its other neighbouring communities in the local government.
He appealed for urgent assistance from government and bemoaned how a dam project by the Federal Government through the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, which was sited in the community but was later diverted to another community, a few years ago.
Also speaking on the issue, Mrs Hassanat Abubakar, a housewife, explained how women in the border area suffered to get water for domestic use, once the dry season sets in.
She pleaded with government to assist in the provision of adequate water supply to the area, to ease the difficulties faced by women and children in sourcing for water.
An official of the Kwara Water Works Scheme in the town, who spoke to newsmen on condition of anonymity, said that poor power supply compelled the unit to stop work about three years ago.
He added that the situation had now been compounded with the rusty distribution pipe network, as well as the need to expand the network, following the growing population of the town.
The source, however, declined to provide estimates required to restore full operations at the facility.
Okuta, with an estimated population of over 100, 000 persons, is the largest town in the Baruten local government area of Kwara.