Most residents of Kaduna State are scrambling for alternative clean water sources for their daily usage, as acute water scarcity is biting hard in the north-western Nigeria State.
The water scarcity has been attributed to the breakdown of services by the State Water Board.
Industrial action by electricity workers last Monday had initially caused a breakdown in supply. But after the strike was called off, a power transmission line to the Malali Water Treatment plant, which supplies water to the metropolis and environs, got damaged.
Some of the areas worst affected by the scarcity are Barnawa, Sabon Tasha, Zaria, Romi, Tirkaniya, Gonin Gora, Taiwo Road, Abubakar Kigo Road, Costain Quarters and environs.
With a population of over six million people, the state’s taps, reservoirs and dams, the major sources of water, are dry.
There are fears that the problem could linger for some time.
A resident of Barnawa, said most of them in the area now rely on commercial borehole operators and water vendors popularly called ‘Mai Ruwa’ for their daily water supply. The water from these sources are not usually treated.
Some of them who spoke to Channels Television blamed the State Water Board for the scarcity.
Reliance On Dirty Water
They said it was not the first time that they were facing such situation and wondered why the government had not explored alternative means of providing water to the residents, pending when the fault at its transmitting station is fixed.
Only few houses are privileged enough to have boreholes within them and are slightly immune from the problem. But again, lack of electricity to pump water becomes a problem.
At Abubakar Kigo road New Extension, the residents have been without water in their home for over a week. Wherever they could find a tap, residents gather and to get water, now a precious commodity in many neighbourhoods in the working class town of over three million people.
With empty buckets and cans in their hands, they waited patiently in line, sometimes for more than an hour.
At Sabon Tasha area, residents told Channels Television that they had no other choice than to rely on dirty water from a well for drinking and other domestic use.
Some people say they have become sick from it.
When contacted, the State Commissioner for Water Resources, Ado Dogo Audu, attributed the scarcity to the breakdown of transmission line to the water treatment plant and the three days warning strike embarked on by the National Union Of Electricity Employees which resulted in total blackout in the entire state.
He also explained that available power generating sets could not power the water treatment plants. The bigger generating sets that could power the water plant have no diesel in them, apparently as a result of scarcity of the product that has lasted for weeks.
Mr Audu said the State Water Board was making frantic efforts to restore water, appealing to residents to be patient.
While the Water Board seems to be on top of the situation, the Commissioner again lamented the poor attitude of customers in paying their water bills, which he said ‘must stop’ if they must enjoy uninterrupted water supply.
In the middle of the nationwide elections last month, the issue of water supply topped the campaign manifesto of various candidates. The issue has not failed to show up in politicians’ manifesto in the last few years, with very little improvement recorded.
With just barely three weeks to the expiration of the present government’s tenure, residents are hoping that issues like the current water scarcity must be addressed by the incoming government.