Water and sanitation program and Importance of clean water. The Rivers State Government, in conjunction with the Port Harcourt Water Corporation (PHWC), has embarked on the implementation a project aimed at providing potable water and sanitation services to residents of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Authorities (LGAs).
The project is part of a sector-wide institutional reform embarked on by the state government, and is planned to be implemented with parallel financing support by the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Urban Water Reform and Port-Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project, and by the International Development Association (IDA) (hereafter also referred to as World Bank), under the Third National Urban Water Sector Reform Project (NUWSRP3). The planned allocations to Rivers State include $200 million in AfDB funds and $80 million in IDA funds. The Rivers State Government co-financing amounts to $48 million.
The current population in the two LGAs is about 1.3 million, but it is expected to reach 4 million by 2040.
Currently, its citizens do not benefit from any water services of acceptable quantity, quality or reliability standards, as the water system is considered to be largely non-functional. As a result, the population obtains water from a combination of private boreholes/shallow wells (directly in their household or bought through intermediate vendors) and water sachets, with varying quality, costs and availability.
For sanitation, most households in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor are served by toilets with on-site septic tanks or household pit latrines, while most public centres such as markets and lorry parks lack adequate facilities.
The project aims to improve access to safe water supply and public sanitation services in Port Harcourt and Obio/Apkor and also to establish sound performance and long-term viability of the Port Harcourt Water Corporation to ensure sustainability of services provided.
To this effect, the project is structured around four components, which are listed to include:
- Rehabilitation and expansion of the existing water infrastructure and construction of public sanitation facilities;
- Institutional Support covering capacity building of the recently established Port Harcourt Water Corporation, consumer outreach, environmental protection, and longer-term planning for comprehensive sanitation services;
- Establishment of Public Private Partnerships for sustainable service operations; and
- Project Management. The population in the project area is primarily low income households, which requires special considerations in delivery mechanisms and tariff setting for affordability and sustainability.
The objective of the project is to increase access to potable water to 100% in the state.
By Christian Maduka