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How water scarcity subjects Kano residents to untold hardship

 An acute water scarcity resulting in hike in the cost of the commodity is currently subjecting many residents to untold hardship across the metropolitan areas…

 An acute water scarcity resulting in hike in the cost of the commodity is currently subjecting many residents to untold hardship across the metropolitan areas of Kano State. The problem is keeping many of the people on their toes as they struggle to meet their requirements.

All over the metropolis men, women and children could be seen trekking around looking for water for their daily chores.

Jummai Bala (not real name), 45, a mother of seven and a resident of Fagge Local Government Area, said she often stayed awake as late as 3am in order to fetch water for use the following day in her home.

“The issue of water scarcity, coupled with the hike in cost, is something that the average income earner cannot deal with. We have no option but to look for other alternatives.

 “I am a single mother of seven and you can imagine the amount of water eight of us will use a day. It is not really easy because we will bathe at least once, wash essential items – clothes and dishes – and perform ablution and other needs in the restroom.

“We have a neighbour who has a borehole in his house and he used to pump water for us to fetch. Now, for the past two months, he could not afford to buy fuel, so it is when there is electricity and after he has pumped and filled his tanks that we could fetch also.

“Even at that, most of the time, the electricity will not stay long enough for him to fill his own tank, talk less of giving to us. So most of the time we have to wait for the light to come back, hopefully by midnight or around 3am, to fetch. This is the order of things daily we are forced to get used to.

“On the other hand, when you talk about buying from the vendors, that’s another story because they are now kings and they sell to the highest bidder. N120, N130 per 25 litres is not affordable now and if someone adds even N10 they will definitely abandon you and sell to him or her.”

Jummai’s story is similar to those of many residing across the metropolitan areas of the state.

 Daily Trust observed that going into the nooks and crannies of the state during morning and evening hours, all that could get the attention of a visitor is nothing but the sight of water vendors pushing their carts to deliver water to residents and businesses.

It was gathered that incessant power outages, coupled with the hike in the price of fuel are the major factors that leading to the water shortage.

 Water vendors make brisk business

 However, it is all business for water vendors in the state as they are seen as the only source of water by the residents.

 At a popular centre located at Kofar Nassarawa, Daily Trust reports that at least 200 water vendors are doing business every day with most of them doing three to five trips a day. They pay N200 to fill up their carts per trip.

 According to them, they serve communities like Yakasai, Kofar Nassarawa, Rimi, Laulawa, Koki, Agadasawa, Makwarari, Dandurimi, Sabon Gari, Fagge, Kurmi, Zoo Road, Railway, Mandawari, Galadima, Zango behind Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital among many other places in dire need for their service.

 Our correspondent gathered that the leadership of the vendors pays N20,000 per pump to the state’s Water Board every month.

Speaking on the issue, Sa’idu Muazu, a water vendor said the scarcity has set them up against their customers as they blame them for charging high price.

“What we are seeing is not funny at all. This development is gradually affecting our relationship with people that have been our customers for a long. Most of them have even stopped buying and are looking elsewhere for alternative means of getting the water.

“Whenever you are approached and you tell them the price they complain and we also can’t afford to sell less because we will lose, coupled with our struggle before getting it and using our energy to push our carts and transport the water around.

“At times when someone complains, you can’t do anything other than reason along with them and it’s killing us also. So, what we do now is to avoid places where we are known or where we know that we can’t sell less.”

On his part, the chairman of the centre, Abubakar Ali, also lamented over the water scarcity, which has put residents in a difficult situation.

 “All that we can say about this job is to thank God for what he has done to us. The water coming to us is not even enough.

“Our complaint is nothing but the availability of the water is not as before. People are accusing us that we are the ones responsible for their plight.

“They even threaten us at times that they will pursue us from the place because they thought we are responsible for their plight while we are also managing to serve them.”

 It will soon be history – Government  

The Commissioner for Water Resources, Ali Makoda while speaking with journalists said the state government spends about N1.2 billion monthly to provide portable drinking water in the metropolis.

 “We spend N400 million monthly on diesel, N387 million on chemicals, while electricity bills take N280 million.

“There are also other costs. We are fixing the prevailing water scarcity in the state capital and its environs. In a couple of days, the problem will be over,” Makoda said.

He blamed the water shortage on obsolete equipment, especially at the Tamburawa Water Treatment Plant which supplies water to most parts of Kano metropolis.

“The high temperature in the metropolis is also a factor as people consume higher volumes of water to cope with the weather,” he said.

He blamed the immediate past state government for the decay in the water sector, alleging that it did not give the necessary attention to it.

 “During the tenure of the last administration, only 20 per cent of the state’s water demand was met. Our administration has supplied more than 60 per cent of the water needs of our people,” he claimed.

He also said that the state government had entered into an agreement with the government of France to spend 63.4 million euros on the construction of the third Kano Water Treatment Plant.

 “We are deeply committed to ensuring that there is enough drinking water in Kano; that is why Governor Abba Yusuf is doing all he can, including sinking heavy sums, to ensure that,” he added.

A media aide to Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf also revealed the reasons for the persistent water scarcity in Kano.

In a post on X, Abdullahi Ibrahim, a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Digital Media, said the cause of the water shortage was as a result of “the breakdown of pumping machines that supply water from Tamburawa Water Treatment Plant and ongoing maintenance works at Challawa Water Treatment Plant.”

He added that Bichi assured them of “the commitment of Kano State Water Board to ensure that all maintenance works, alongside the engineering aspects, are completed in due course.

“The MD will also be in Lagos in the coming week to conclude procurement processes for the acquisition of new pumping machines from Germany that will serve as backup systems in case of any future breakdown,” Ibrahim wrote.

 “Communities in Kano State should expect the prompt resumption of water supply in the coming days as KSWB intensifies efforts to improve the water supply mechanism.”


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