Bauchi, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Kaduna, Lagos and Taraba states have received the “Waterman Award’’ for their efforts to improve service delivery in the water sector.
The states received the awards at the opening of the International Conference of the Nigerian Water Supply Association (NWSA) in Abuja on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 for their efforts to expand the citizens’ access to potable water.
Mr Olusola Suulola, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the conference, said that there could never be any meaningful development in the society without quality service delivery.
He, however, said that it was saddening to note that the water sector in the country had been facing some crises.
He underscored the need for state governments to exhibit political commitment in encouraging reform processes in the states’ water agencies.
Suulola said that poor data, dilapidated water infrastructure and inadequate funding were some of the challenges which ought to be tackled in efforts to improve Nigerians’ access to water supply.
Deputy Governor of Taraba, Alhaji Haruna Manu, who responded on behalf of the seven states that received awards, commended NWSA for the award, saying that it would spur them to do more.
Manu said that one of the critical areas of intervention of Gov. Darius Ishaku’s administration in Taraba.
He said that the state had invested a lot of resources on water supply projects, adding that efforts were underway to provide water for over 200 communities across the state.
Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, said that the critical challenges facing urban areas across the country included the dearth of sustainable basic services such as water supply and sanitation services.
“Available statistics in Nigeria indicate regression in the urban water services, as access to pipe-borne water regressed from 32 per cent in 1990 to 7 per cent in 2015.
“This is due to high rate of urbanisation, failing infrastructure, institutional weaknesses and far more importantly, low level of investment,’’ he added.
Adamu said that part of the Federal Government’s mission was the transformation of all water utilities into financially viable entities, as part of renewed efforts to tackle urban development problems and improve the socio-economic conditions of the country.
The minister said that the ministry had been supporting urban water supply and sanitation sector reforms since 2004.
He added that the support was through the approval of a National Action Plan on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and the declaration of a state of emergency in the water and sanitation sector.
Adamu, nonetheless, expressed the hope that the conference would produce workable strategies that would strengthen stakeholders’ collaboration for the sustainable development of the nation’s water sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Nigerian Water Supply Association is an umbrella body of all operators in the country’s water supply sector.
The group makes contributions to policy negotiations at national, regional and international levels for institutional reforms in the water sector.
The theme of the conference was: “Transforming Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Utilities into Financially Viable Entities”.
By Tosin Kolade