Katsina Residents Reel under Burden of Water Scarcity

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Francis Sardauna in Katsina

Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, have been facing an acute case of water shortage for the past six months now, residents have lamented.

Also, the residents have decried that they are currently living daily at the mercy of water vendors, who have increased the price of water by over 100 percent.

They expressed their frustration in separate interviews with THISDAY, noting that long queues of water vendors at commercial borehole centres “are currently common in many parts of the city including Government Reservation Areas (GRAs).

THISDAY investigation revealed that the worst hit areas “are Shagari-low cost, Kofar-Kaura, Rafindadi, Kofar-Sauri, Sardauna Estate and Sabon-ungwar, Kofar Sauri, Layout, Dandagoro, Goruba road and Abatour.”

Findings showed that men and women including children in the affected areas “forsake other duties in search of this precious commodity on daily basis and sometimes depend on jerry cans water sellers.”

But in a swift reaction yesterday, the Katsina State Government assured that the accelerating water scarcity would be tackle by the end of April through the provision of addition water pumping machines.

THISDAY had reported that following the scarcity, commercial borehole operators had increased their rates by 50 per cent. While owners of private boreholes now charge between N10 and N15 as against N5 per 25-litre jerrycan.

Some residents, who spoke with THISDAY yesterday, blamed the biting water scarcity on irregular tap water supply by the state water board and negligence by the state ministry of water resources and rural development.

One of the residents, Mr. Abubakar Bakori said there “is no regular tap water supply from government. The state government keeps on saying it will address the problem but up till now nothing has been done.

“Most houses do not have boreholes and few that have could not serve the population of people living in the metropolis. Most of them could not fuel their generators to pump water for people. They wait for electricity supply before they could pump for the general public.”

Another resident, Mr. Abdulkadir Rafindadi expressed dismay over the scarcity, noting that some residents with low income had resorted to using water from the well as an alternative.

He added that the situation “has affected almost the entire city and water vendors have continued to capitalise on the situation by increasing their prices.

“I used to buy a jerry can which was sold for N20 before the scarcity. But it is now sold for N35. We are calling on the state government to come to our aid.”

In her own account, Mrs. Asebe Babangida claimed that the water scarcity had been confronting the state capital for the past three
years.

According to her, this problem of water scarcity is an issue facing for more than three years. Government is not doing anything to address the problem.

She urged the state governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari “to come to the aid of the residents. It is a shame for residents of a state capital not to have access to potable water. The government should be held responsible.”

On the water scarcity, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr. Salisu Dandume said the water scarcity would be over by the end of April, attributing the scarcity to the failure of existing machines to deliver supplies to the affected areas.

He said the water scarcity noticeable in the state “is largely caused by failure of water pumping machines, which has aged between five to six years. These machines had experienced inadequate maintenance and lack of spare parts.

Dandume said the state government “has ordered for the procurement of additional water pumping machines. The machines, when installed, will immediately boost water supply in the state.

“We have placed an order for new ones, three to four months ago with delivery expected to be made April 8. Each pump cost about N94 million. When installed it will ease the suffering of Katsina people in the area of supply and the issue of scarcity will be over.”

He explained the reason the Zobe water project would not be inaugurated to ease water scarcity facing residents of the state.

The commissioner said, “We encountered canalisation of some Zobe water pipelines and stealing of heavy water metals which needed repairs. All of which contributed to the delays.