By Francis Sardauna
Acute water shortage has again hit residents of Katsina metropolis despite the installation of two pumping machines at Ajiwa water works by the state government.
Across the metropolis, THISDAY observed that long queues of water vendors at commercial borehole centres were rife even at Government Reservation Areas (GRAs).
The Ajiwa water treatment plant, was constructed and commissioned in the 1970s, and was later neglected by the previous administrations despite serving as the only source of water to the state capital and its environs.
Before Governor Aminu Masari assumed office, previous administrations had attempted to resolve the issue of perennial water scarcity often experienced in the ancient city during the dry season but to no avail.
But THISDAY investigation revealed that most residents now lived at the mercy of water vendors for their daily water supply.
Findings further 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, Abatour and Sabon Titin-Kwado.
Due to the water shortage, THISDAY observed that 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.
Residents, who spoke with THISDAY yesterday, blamed the biting water scarcity on irregular tap water supply and negligence by the state government to address what they termed inflammatory scenario.
The residents, who defied the lockdown order imposed by the state government in search of the essential commodity, said a 25-litre of water now costs N35 to N40 in some areas.
One of the residents, Tukur Ibrahim, said the state government “has ordered us to remain indoor for 14 days because of COVID-19, but they are not supplying water to us. The government has not addressed the problem, but up till now nothing has been done”.
Another resident, Muhammadu Carpenter expressed dismay over the accelerating water scarcity, saying some residents with low income had resorted to using well water as an alternative.
He said the situation had affected almost the entire city and water vendors continued to capitalise on the situation by increasing their prices.
He said: “I used to buy 10 jerry cans which was sold for N20 before the scarcity, but now is sold for N40. We are calling on the state government to come to our aid”.
A female resident at the state capital, Mrs. Talatu Jibrin lamented that the water scarcity had been confronting Katsina for the past five years, claiming that the state government was not doing anything to address the problem.
When contacted, the acting Managing Director of the State Water Board, Ibrahim Abubakar said the state government had procured and installed two pumping machines at Ajiwa water treatment plant to revamp water supply in the state.
He said the water treatment plant, which was producing 30,000 litres per day, had been increased to 45,000 litres due to the installation of the new water pumping machines.
He said the installed capacity of Ajiwa water treatment plant “is 50,000 litres. So, we are almost operating at 80 to 85 per cent of the installed capacity of Ajiwa. An improvement has been recorded in respect of water supply to Katsina metropolis, Dutsin-Ma, Daura and Jibia and other local government areas.
“The Ajiwa water treatment plant was constructed in 1970 and its capacity was increased in 1989 and 1990 but yet that will not be enough to supply water to the whole of Katsina that is why we supply on rotational basis.”
He added that the state government had renovated the Zobe water Dam, adding that when commissioned, it would boost water supply across the nocks and crannies of the state.