ABUJA – No fewer than 57 communities in five states in the Niger Delta Region are to benefit from the Federal Government’s community water project, according to Dr Steve Oru, the Minister, Niger Delta Affairs Ministry.
Oru, who made this known during an interview with newsmen in Abuja, said the benefitting communities were in Imo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Ondo and Delta states.
He said that three water supply projects in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states had been completed, while others were awaiting financial appropriation for award.
He said that rural communities in the Niger Delta region had difficulties accessing potable water.
‘“Water supply is the greatest unmet challenge in rural areas, mainly caused by either poor design or lack of maintenance.
“Only 45 percent of rural communities in the South-South region have improved sanitation, even improved pit latrines.
‘’ Field visits by the ministry documented that only about one quarter of the piped water systems were observed to be in functional condition.
“In many communities, this tragedy is compounded by the numerous dysfunctional water projects of varying ages and designs seen close by.
“Some are unfinished. Most have broken down or are missing a simple spare part.
“Typically, the only reliable source for these rural residents remains the unsafe water of the nearby creek,” Oru said
The minister also said that reasons for poor water supply were often technical and human rather than a function of nature.
Oru noted that in off-grid communities, hand pumps or solar water systems with tank, tower water filtration (for taste) and standpipes, were often seen.
‘’ Generators are expensive and rare and thus far, applications of solar technology to water pumps have been hampered by inappropriate engineering requiring conversion from AC (solar) to DC (pump).
‘’Conversion is a weak link, apparently causing over 90 percent of system failure in a recent NDDC solar water project. AC pumps are available,’’ he said
The minister said that even appropriate technology, however, required maintenance .