The Bayelsa State Government has restated its committed towards ensuring that all Bayelsans have access to safe and potable drinking water in line with the sustainable development goals, SDG-6.
To this end, work on reactivation of dilapidated water schemes in Yenagoa metropolis and all other waterworks in the state is in progress, adding that very soon water supply will be restored and sustained.
This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Hon. Kemebradikumo Wariebi at the celebration of the 2021 World Water Day with the theme: ” Valuing Water” aimed propelling various Governments at taking actions that will create value on water resources.
According to Wariebi, the 2020 World Bank-assisted Water Sector Investment Plan report showed that the state water demand is 114,000 cubic metre per day with current production at 28,000 cubic metre per day and an expected increase to 630, 000 cubic metre per day by 2050.
Wariebi further disclosed that investment outlay was estimated to cost $115 million USD or N46 billion in the short term by 2025 and £27 million Pounds or N108 billion in long term as this amount of investment cannot be financed by the state government alone, pointing out that the ministry has engaged the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to attract investment support to the state as the Otueke Regional Water Works reactivation has received support from the Federal Government.
He said: ” I must sincerely appreciate His Excellency, the Governor, who has in my short period in office, gave his nod for the reactivation of ailing water schemes in Yenagoa metropolis and subsequently all other waterworks in the state. The reactivation initiative has started and very soon water supply will be restored and sustained.
” I want to equally appreciate His Excellency for swiftly providing and restoring water supply by graciously approving the operation and calibration of the 450 cubic metre per day Ovom Waterworks, the 1500 cubic metre per day Okaka Main Waterworks and the 3600 cubic metre per day Otueke Regional Waterworks, in addition, the Yenagoa reticulation is also receiving rapt attention and in the near future the reticulation will be replaced”.
The commissioner emphasized that in Bayelsa State the Fact Sheet of the 2018 National Open Routine Mapping on WASH (WASH-NORM) survey revealed that 20% of Bayelsans have access to potable drinking water with only 6% from public water supply, 7% have access to basic WASH services, 13% have access to basic wster and sanitation service while 9% have access to basic sanitation and hygiene services.
He said that 13% or 295,000 people still practice “open defecation” while only 28% have handwashing facilities in their premises, saying that Bayelsa is ranked 29th position in the water supply service ladder among 36 states in addition to being 20 among states yet to key into the “Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet Campaign” set up in order to be “Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025.
Stating further, it is in view of this worrisome statistics that in 2018 the Federal Government declared a ‘a state of emergency’ in WASH and urged states to follow siut as the Federal Government also developed a strategic 13-year national action plan (NAP) from 2018 to 2030 for the revitalisation of WASH.
He also stated the need for Bayelsa to improve their WASH budgeting and implementation and also declare a ‘state of emergency’ in WASH as well as setting up Inter-ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC) with the Governor as Chairman to give the committee the necessary political will.
Wariebi stressed that the ministry has developed its Water Sector Policy with support from the European Union’s Niger Delta Support Programme in 2016 in addition to fine-tuning the Bayelsa State Water Sector Bill, an off-shoot of the Water Sector Policy for consideration, adding that these instructional reforms in the water sector will guarantee Bayelsans sustainable access to water supply.
The World Water Day also featured a public lecture titled ” Valuing Water- an Integrated Water Management Approach” delivered by Engr. U.B Magash, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, NIWRMC who was represented by Engr. Sunday Idowu, a Director in the Commission.