Kano State has two major rivers that are never without water throughout the year and most of the streams are seasonal in nature, in addition to mega dams like Tiga and Challawa which are among the largest dams in Africa. Yet, the state is still struggling to provide water for its inhabitants.\
Tiga dam was constructed in 1974. It is 6km long and constructed along River Kano with a carrying capacity of 1,974,000,000 m3 from its catchment area of 6553 km2. The dam was constructed mainly to provide water for Kano river irrigation project, Kano city water supply, year-round grazing and for fisheries production and tourist attraction.
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The Tamburawa Water Works (TWW) has the old and new Tamburawa. Old Tamburawa Water Works commenced in 1986 with a capacity of 9.6 million litres (of water) and later upgraded to supply 20 million litres, while the New Tamburawa water treatment plant has the capacity to supply 150 million litres of water to Kano city and surrounding environs.
Other dams in the state include the Challawa Goge, Thomas, Watari and Kusalla dams in addition to 26 water reservoirs across the main rivers and several other constructed reservoirs in the metropolis.
Despite all these water bases, the state can hardly provide water for the teeming populace as a recent survey showed that only about 50 per cent of the urban and 20 per cent of the semi-urban population have access to reliable water supply of acceptable quality in a state with the second highest population in the country.
Some of the factors identified as the major bane of water supply in the state include funding, power supply, lack of autonomy on the part of the state water board as well as dearth of and obsolete equipment.
During a visit to some of the water facilities of Tamburawa, Watari, Guzu-Guzu, Magaga and Gwarzo, our reporter observed that they operated at different levels. Tamburawa was working while Watari was resting at the time of visit. A worker at Watari told our reporter that the generating sets were resting because they worked from 8am to 3pm. However, nothing was working at Magaga and Gwarzo. At Tsanyawa, there was ongoing work of laying 400mm ductile pipes from Watari dam to the town.
The dearth of water has also led to a fast lucrative business venture of water vending in the state.
Daily Trust gathered that people have been capitalising on government’s shortcomings to make water available as several water businesses are springing up in the metropolis.
From hawking water with trucks to constructing boreholes in areas to sell water, it was discovered that individuals have now diversified into establishing big reservoirs and selling water in tankers. Big water tankers now supply water to households depending on the size or volume one can afford.
Malam Abdullahi Mohammed said he has forgotten the last time water ran from government pipes or pumps in Kano city, especially Hotoro area where he resides.
“We have all resorted to buying water daily for our needs. Every day, I spend N200 for a cart of water containing 10 to 12 25-litre gallons of water. We all do that in our area, others even buy more depending on the family size and usage of water in one’s household,” he said.
Hassan Danladi, who lives in Rijiyar Zaki area, said “I have been living in this area for over 30 years and the last time I saw water from our pipes was about 15 years ago. The tap stands in our houses are now hangers for drying clothes while some have even rusted away.”
A resident of Fagge, Ibrahim Musa, said the water comes once in three months, and without pressure it is hard to use because it will take hours to fill a bucket, while some areas in the same Fagge have water supply, though intermittently.
Kabir Yakasai said “the last we saw water in our area was six years ago, although about a week ago, it came for a few minutes and went again. We have lost hope on public tap water so we rely mostly on water vendors.”
Hajiya Zainab Hassan, who resides at Tudun Yola, said “tap water is alien to us because in our area, we mainly rely on boreholes or commercial water vendors. Most of our kids don’t know public taps.”
The Kano State Water Board however said it is working tirelessly to enhance its operations and access to potable water in the state as it has established a digital supply control centre recently.
Dr Ahmad Garba, the Managing Director of the Board, who stated this in an interview with newsmen, said the centre equipped with computers and modern gadgets was designed to enhance surveillance, monitoring and maintenance of water plants as well as reticulation systems.
He said that the centre would also address leakages in the reticulation system, check wastage and facilitate rapid response to broken pipes.
The MD noted that the centre was established with support of the Africa France Development (AFD) programme, adding that the AFD was providing training to its personnel to ensure effective utilisation of the centre.
“The state government is in collaboration with the AFD to redesign and rejuvenate water supply services in line with the international standard.
“The government is also in collaboration with the World Bank under the Third Urban Water Reform programme, to reinvigorate water supply in the state. The state government had initiated viable projects to fast-track upgrade and installation of new equipment at various water treatment plants to boost its production capacity.”
He listed the projects to include installation of 11High Lift Pump Machines at Chalawa and Tamburawa water treatment plants. Other projects, according to him include the upgrade of the water reticulation system in Kano metropolis, replacement of obsolete equipment in urban, semi-urban and regional water schemes as well as construction of additional reservoirs at Goron-Dutse and Bompai hills.
“Presently, we are supplying water to over 75 percent of the people in the state as against the less than 30 percent before the advent of Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje’s administration. We are now producing about one billion litres of water daily as against 250 million litres in the past four years. The feat was achieved through the unwavering commitment of the governor to boost our production capacity to achieve 1.5 billion litres of water daily,” he said.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje said his administration has set aside over N9bn for various water schemes across the state for the 2021 fiscal year with some major works to include construction and rehabilitation of water facilities in the state, small town borehole and tube well based water supply schemes, as well as construction of seven borehole-based water schemes at Falgore, Albasu, Makoda, Minjibir, Gadanya, Tofa, Bunkure and construction of Solar and Generator Powered Borehole Schemes across the 44 LGAs.
He said, “We intend to construct new water reservoir at Bompai Rock that will serve major parts of Nassarawa, Fagge and Municipal LGAs, while another one at Zaria Road (Tamburawa) will balance water supply from the 150mld Tamburawa WTP and at same time Mariri reservoir is to balance water supplied from the New Wudil 90mld for distribution to major parts of the city including neighbouring LGAs of Gezawa and Gabasawa.”
In addition, he said his administration will “construct and develop new irrigation schemes and also small earth-dams in the state for boosting dry season farming.
“Furthermore, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency [RUWASSA] will complement government efforts in the provision of potable water supply to our rural areas in collaboration with our development partners.”