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Federal and State
Water Projects in
Enugu State
by Bolu Olorunfemi | Aug 19, 2020 | Blog,
Nigeria
#ClaimYourWaterRights has been making a
series of efforts toward alleviating water
poverty in Enugu state to increase water
production in the state. The former director
of the state ministry of water resources
Engineer Fidelis Okeke was invited to speak
and state water projects and how to
harness different water sources to increase
water production in the state.
Can you tell us some of the things you have
discovered in the Enugu water sector that
made you champion this course with other
CSOs?
Temple: People and stakeholders have
been engaged to know their plight and
water provision in Enugu State. It was
realised that the main challenge by duty
bearers was low water production from the
state source. Groundwater is difficult to get
due to the topography of the State however
we thought about how surface water could
be harnessed. The director of the State
ministry of water resources will shed more
light on how to increase water production in
the state by harnessing different water
sources including the abandoned ones.
What are the sources of water supply for
the people of Enugu metropolis?
Engr Fidelis: The geology needs to be
looked at first we have what we call Mkpuru
shales in geologic parlance in Enugu
metropolis they can contain water but they
won’t be able to
release this water when it is needed. This
made borehole construction in Enugu
metropolis difficult. nature has a way of
balancing things, if there is no groundwater,
it gives you surface Water. Previously in
Enugu, the major source of water was from
Ekulu works and Iva spring, overtime the
discharge from the coal mine shaft made
the cost of treatment high which informed
the decision to have other sources which
brought about Ajali and 9thmile crash
program.
Ajali a surface water scheme is manmade
and overtime the facilities began to go bad
with a reduction in the designed production
capacity due to poor maintenance. There
are chances of improving the recoverable
volume from it by constructing a quality
dam, they are likely to get more water. The
9th-mile crash program had 12 boreholes
sunk in Ajali sand site, known to produce
the best quality of water in Enugu state, but
because of poor maintenance, those 12
boreholes went bad Overtime. In Oji river,
we have about 8 boreholes, this source is
also not properly harnessed.
Considering when these projects were set
up and the population at that time
compared to now that there has been a
massive influx of people, has there been
any plan of expansion to boost the capacity
of these sources?
Engr Fidelis: Measures has been put in
place for system expansion. In 2014, a
consultant was engaged to do a network
expansion design for the metropolitan
which was done and concluded. There was
a proposal to have reservoirs in some spots
to increase water supply, that was thrown
into the shelf.
A proposal to increase water supply from a
source called Iyioku was made, the
government did a lot of design to capture it
but it is inactive. Talking of the Akwuke
source, we had shallow wells when the
scheme was conceived, to supply water to
areas around Garki, Army barracks, etc. It
was working at a time but over time it
stopped working due to erosion and poor
maintenance.
When the time came to increase supply, the
federal government identified a spot uphill
at Ngwo, that was meant to produce about
30,000 cubic metres, the federal
government did a lot of work but it was
abandoned. A review was done in 2013 to
determine the cost of completing the work,
we had less than 2 billion nairas to
complete the outstanding work, again it is
inactive.
A water scheme the federal government
started in Amechi Idodo has been
abandoned. There are a lot of potential
sources to increase production, however,
the problem is implementation.
Are there plans by the federal government
to ensure most of these projects they
commence in states are sustained and
monitored to ensure they serve the purpose
for which they were put up?
Engr. Fidelis: Yes, there are plans.
There is PEWASH, a number of states
benefits from that approach and Enugu
is yet to key into it. The major problem
we have with federal government
projects are that the state does not
complete them. There should be
an investment plan by identifying these
projects and their status and plan on
what to do since the federal
government is working on intervention.
Do you think the state government has
done enough to ensure that the efforts of
the private sector are complemented to
ensure sustained water provision at the
community level?
Engr. Fidelis: It has been discussed
that the government is not putting
structures in place that can guarantee
intervention by the private sector’’. Until
the water sector law of the state is put
in place, There can hardly be a private
person that will invest in the sector
and be sure of his investment. If
regulation is not in place, any private
individual taking up that challenge is
taking a big risk.
With the declaration of a state of
emergency in water, how come the water
bill hasn’t been passed?
Engr. Fidelis: there are limits to what we
can do. Some of us have tried to agitate.
The good thing is that we have good
notable NGOs around, just like Hope Spring
Water, it is their duty at this point to rise up
and advocate to the challenge duty bearers,
maybe the house of assembly does not
know the implications.
What’s your take on what the caller said,
“sincerity”?
Engr. Fidelis: She has been passionate
about the issue of WASH in Enugu state
and beyond. The problem is we need
enough government commitment to this
issue.
Do you think there is a level of sabotage to this because despite the effort of the state government? Mr Temple: A government that wants
water project to work in Enugu will
make it work, sabotage or not. To
address sabotage, what you need to do is strengthen your institutional system and organizational structure, let people
know what they are supposed to do
and be held accountable when they
don’t do that. When these are put in
place the issue of sabotage will be
minimized to the barest minimum.
What do you think is the way forward?
Engr. Fidelis: If there are no defined rules, there will be continuous overlap. The government needs to rise up and regulate
the activities on the provision of water in Enugu State.


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