Government urged to maximise economic benefits of water resources
• ‘70% of Nigerians lack access to safe drinking water’
Water management experts, under the aegis of Association of Professional Rig Owners and Borehole Drilling Practitioners (AWDROP), have called on governments at al levels to put in place friendly policies that would enable Nigeria maximise the economic benefits inherent in water resources.
The group, which, said that about 70 per cent of Nigerians are lack access to safe drinking water, urged government to establish a commission that would regulate the activities of extracting the underground water resources.
The National President, AWDROP, Micheal Ale, who made this call during the mid-term assessment meeting held in Ekiti State, said: “The Ministry of Water Resources should have something of economic value attached to it. It must carry those of us who are the professionals along in the assignment of utilising water resources for the benefit of the nation.
“Government cannot meet up with the demand for water by the public and so it behooves on every one who desires safe drinking water to take to borehole drilling for the pure underground water.
“However, when everyone gets water for themselves and government is not involved, the government is losing, because getting water for the public should be of economic value for government. Water provision by the government when commercialised would provide billions of Naria for our government and add greatly to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.
The experts, at the meeting listed the consequences of the foregoing as spread of water-borne diseases and threat to healthy lifestyle of many Nigerians.
The National Vice President, South-West, AWDROP, Oluwatosin Yusuf, said: “”Less than 30 per cent of Nigerians have assess to safe drinking water in many states. The consequence of all these is high mortality rate and prevalence of water borne diseases.”
“We therefore urge government to collaborate with us in providing safe drinking water for the masses because we have the best drilling equipment and professional acumen to do the job.
“Government giving drilling projects to quack is inimical to providing safe drinking water for the masses. Many of the quacks get project of borehole drilling for very huge amount and hand the project to quack for very ridiculously low amount. The quacks don’t use good equipment for the job and therefore end up providing bad water for the public.
“ We have training of international standard and we have continuous interfaced with international borehole drilling bodies,” he said. The group, in a communiqué issued after the meeteing resolved that: “All members should partner with their state governments in addressing moribund boreholes within their vicinity as contained in the resolution of water council meeting held in Kaduna in 2013; that all state chapters should introduce KYC otherwise known as “Know Your Customers” to all members to enable the association has a database of all borehole dwelling development companies in the state.
Other things agreed on are: “That the development partners be contacted in conjunction with Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in order to sensitize the members on the procedures of bidding for government contract, that the association will agree to supervise all borehole implementation in the 2017 budget,”
The association, therefore expressed its readiness to partner with Federal Ministry of Water Resources on P-Wash programme otherwise known as Partnership for extended water sanitation by Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation.