Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State has reiterated his administration’s commitment to end water scarcity in Enugu metropolis and other towns in the state, expressing the hope that the steady availability of water will end the construction of water storage towers in homes in the state.
The governor gave the assurance while receiving in audience a civil society organization, Network of Water Rights Initiative (NEWARI) during a courtesy call at the Government House, Enugu, on Monday.
Governor Mbah said there was no reason why in the 21st century, the people and residents of the state should not turn on their taps and get clean water, affirming that water will start running in Enugu homes in the next 154 days.
“We think that Enugu should not be one of the states having water challenges because the state has plenty of water sources. There is no reason why in the 21st century, we should not turn on our taps and get clean water.
“We have 154 days left for water to start flowing in our homes. We are mindful of what we say and we know what the problems are because we have done a diagnosis of the problems.
“Besides the Enugu metropolis, we are already liaising with the local government chairmen to see that those in Nsukka, those in other towns and those in the rural areas have their own water schemes from different sources, and can access water in no distant time because we want people to get water from a distance of not more than 5 minutes.
“We are building a resilient system that can supply water every day of the year and not intermittently. That is why we are not focusing on only the 9th Mile Water Scheme; we are also working on Orji River Water Scheme, we are dealing with other challenges in the downstream and we believe that over time, people will no longer need to build water storage towers in their various homes”, he said.
The governor commended the organisation for their interest in sanitation and hygiene, saying that with the provision of water to schools, hospitals and markets, they will have toilet facilities, thereby helping to end open defecation in the state.
“We are happy that your organisation as a watchdog will make us achieve everything we want to achieve as it concerns water”, the governor stated.
Speaking earlier, the board chairman of the organization, Mr Temple Oraeki said that the Network of Water Rights Initiative (NEWARI), commonly known as WASH Rights Network, is a coalition of 23 civil society organisations in the South-East Nigeria; a task team member organisation of End Water Poverty Coalition, based in the United Kingdom, and a member of the Pan-African Network, Africa Water Justice Network, among others.
He said the NEWARI is to improve access to quality water, sanitation and hygiene services in South East through the instrumentality of evidence based advocacy, effective monitoring and accountability mechanism which is essentially tied to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) number 6, which places emphasis on universal access to water and sanitation.
“We are very elated to learn of your commitment to make water available to homes of ndi Enugu within your 180 days in office as well as to improve sanitation and hygiene in the state. This is a daunting task but we are optimistic that with the strong political will and capacity, which you have demonstrated with the few days in office, the task is achievable”, he said.
He offered the organization’s support to the governor in his desire to end the perennial water challenges in the state and impact positively on the lives of the people of the state.