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Hope runs dry in Nigerian cities, as potable water gets scarce

Water scarcity has been a challenge in Kano metropolis for many years. As a result, many residents depend to a large extent on water vendors…

Water scarcity has been a challenge in Kano metropolis for many years. As a result, many residents depend to a large extent on water vendors for their daily needs with little regard to the source and health implications.

Findings in some areas within the metropolis revealed that many residents do not have access to public water supply.

It was gathered that in Tarauni, Dakata, Hotoro, Brigade and Sabon Gari areas, residents spend a lot to get water. They allege being sidelined in the provision of social amenities.

A resident of Sabuwar Dakata, Malam Shehu Mamuda, said there had been no public water supply in the area for over 20 years. 

“Our major source of water supply is a borehole provided by a politician from where the vendors fetch for onward sale to households,” he said.

He said a moderate household spends at least N200 every day to buy water while a larger family spends more.

Abba Soda, another resident of Dakata, said he had never seen public water supply in the area. 

“We have two boreholes provided by Honourable Nasir Ali Ahmed. One is used by the residents while the other is used by both residents and water vendors to generate revenue,” he said. 

At Tarauni, it was observed that though there were boreholes, most of them were not working.

Malam Ahmad Abdullahi, a resident, said the community initially depended on hand pumps for water supply until a few months ago when some of the pumps went bad.

 He said the cost of water depends on the location and source of water from vendors. He said those who fetched from Unguwa Uku along Zaria road sold at N20 per jerry can, but there were areas they sold at N25. 

Abduhalli said whenever there was power supply, water was easily got from the electric powered boreholes, but without power supply, many buy from water vendors. 

Similarly, Mr. Dele Samuel, a laundry man at Sabon Gari lamented that lack of public water supply in the area had led to the collapse of many laundry businesses.

He said for over 15 years he had been living in the area his only source of water for business and domestic use was water vendors.

Daily Trust gathered that a jerry can of water is sold for between N30 and N40 in Sobon-Gari.

Muhammad Sani, a water vendor in Sabon-Gari, said they charge people living in storey buildings differently between N35 and N40 because of the difficulty in taking the water up stairs.

It was discovered that while households are struggling to meet their daily water needs, the water vendors are making brisk business.

Aliyu, a water vendor at Tinshama, said the business was moving fine as he makes an average of N2, 000 daily. He said some vendors sell up to 10 carts per day while others sell between four and seven.

Aliyu added that a 25-litre jerry can is sold at N10-N15 if it’s close to the source, while it is N20 when the place is far from the source of water. 

However, he explained that during the month of Ramadan, it is N20 flat because of the high demand.

A borehole operator, Muhammad Rabi’u Jibrin, said there is public water supply in some parts of Tinshama, but not always. He added that their turnover is seasonal and the dry season is most profitable with most of them making an average of N5, 000 per day.

Another borehole operator, Abdullahi Muhammad who operates at Polo Club in Nassarawa Local Government, said, “We sell carts from N100-N130 depending on the number of jerry cans it contains.” 

Muhammad said between N8, 000 and N10, 000 is realized daily when there is power supply, but when a power generator is used, the turnover is much less.

 Shortage of water in Bauchi metropolis and its environs has been on for more than two years. Residents of most parts of the metropolis have been battling with water scarcity.

Findings by Daily Trust at the Bauchi State low-cost revealed that residents of the area also battle to get water for domestic use. The residential area has only two functional boreholes drilled by individuals and another solar-powered water system with a donated overhead tank.

According to Dallami Inuwa Hassan, a resident of the area, most of the houses don’t have tap water because of broken pipes. He said only a few houses in some streets get water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for some hours.

It was gathered a bucket or jerry can of water from water vendors costs between N10 and N20.

Residents of outskirts of Bauchi metropolis are the hardest hit as most of the settlements don’t have potable water. A resident of Rafin Zurfi, David Ayodele, said they don’t even have water pipes in the area.

According to him, the only water source is a borehole provided by Senator Adamu Gumba, who represented Bauchi South Senatorial District, with an overhead tank which has broken down. He said even when it was working anytime there was no electricity everything stopped.

Areas like Wuntin Dada, Tsohon Kamfani and other places on the outskirts are also battling with water scarcity.

However, the scarcity has created an opportunity for many individuals who drilled boreholes to make money.

When our reporter visited one of the water selling points at Yelwa, about 10 vendors were fetching water for sale in the neighbourhood.

Further findings from one of the workers revealed that the vendors buy a cart of 10 jerry cans at N60 and resell a can at N20 to N25 depending on the distance from the source and the terrain.

One of the water vendors, Amadu Ali, a Nigerien, said he had been in the business for years not only in Bauchi but almost anywhere he found himself. He said he sold an average of 10 trucks a day depending on the demand.

Our reporter while travelling to Zara, a community in Warji Local Government Area, saw a crowd at a well outside Miya who came to fetch water. Some women were seen with 25 litre Jerry cans filled with water heading home. 

The General Manager, Bauchi State Water Board, Engineer Aminu Aliyu Gital, said the recent water scarcity was due to the shortage of electricity.

“You are aware that we ration our water supply. So, the issue of power is the main problem now. If there is no electricity, we cannot operate as we are supposed to,” he said.

According to him, there was no major upgrade of water facilities in the state since 1992 and the metropolis had expanded which overstretched the existing facilities.

On the proposed multi-billion naira World Bank-assisted Bauchi water expansion project, Engineer Gital said the project would soon take off and end to the water scarcity.

In Zaria, scarcity of potable water has been a problem for residents for many years. As such, vendors have field days selling water at exorbitant rates. 

A 25 litre jerry can of water sells for between N25 and N40. Besides, residents say the water vendors are overwhelmed with supplies.

A resident told Daily Trust that people were suffering and appealed to the government to create some points in different parts of the city for residents to fetch water.

Residents of Kaduna have also decried shortage of water, saying it is not available for the  masses.

Malam Mohammed, resident of Hayin Malam Bello Rigasa New Extension, lamented that for over five years he had been living in the area, there had been no pipe borne water. 

“Majority of residents there rely on wells and boreholes. I don’t have a well, neither do I have a borehole. I pay someone to fetch water for me on a daily basis from my neighbour but anytime my neighbor does not have water maybe due to power outage, he travels about half a kilometer to fetch water for me, which is quite hectic,” he said.

At Sabon Gari, Tudun wada, our reporter gathered that residents get pipe borne water after two days interval, which they also said was giving tough times.

Aliyu Suleiman also a resident of Rigasa, said, “The well in my house is dry, so I fetch water from a neighbour who has water in his. Then I buy over six jerry-cans of water daily costing about N150 for drinking and cooking.”

 

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