By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Residents of Umuahia the capital city of Abia state can now expect to start enjoying public water supply in no distant time as efforts by the state government to get the dry taps gushing, has started yielding the desired results.
Commissioner for Public Utilities, Hon Chidiebere Nwoke, who gave the message of hope during a chat with journalists, said the United states Agency for International Development (USAID) was partnering Abia government to revive public water supply.
He also said government was already negotiating a favourable loan facility with a bank in Belgium and once the deal was actualised, water would start flowing in Umuahia and Aba.
“USAID has done base line study and will soon come in full force to enable water to start flowing,” he assured, adding that government would build water treatment plant at Ugba gravitational point in the capital city to pave way for USAID to start implementing its water project.
Abia is among six states selected for USAID intervention in water supply.
Public water supply ceased in Umuahia since 2007 and residents have been depending on privately owned commercial water bore holes to meet their water needs. In the commercial city of Aba and other towns, public water taps had dried up for a very long time.
Nwoke attributed the situation to the collapse of regional water schemes that were established in various towns during the first and second republics but went moribund in subsequent years as successive governments could not sustain them.
He said that Abia inherited 57 water schemes from the old Imo state, the water schemes, adding that “what is needed is just the money to revive the water schemes for water to start flowing”.
But the commissioner for public utilities said that unlike in the past when government supplied water to the public free of charge, urban residents would start paying for water in future because “water is no longer a social service”.
“Water is very expensive. Investment in water is humongous but once proper planning is done everything worked out well government can recoup the money it invested,” he said, adding that USAID has provided the metering system which would make it easy for consumers to be billed correctly.
Nwoke said that aside from making efforts to give water to the people of Abia the ministry has also been embarking on electrification projects and assisting the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to supply transformers to consumers.
According to him, over 50 transformers were recently supplied to various communities across Abia and most of them have been energised.