The Niger State Water Board on Thursday said despite expending about N30 million monthly to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company for power supply to the Chanchaga water works, epileptic supply remains its major challenge of providing quality, affordable and accessible water to the people.
The Board disclosed during an interactive session with members of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Media Network, after a day tour of the Chanchaga Water Works facilities, said the Board is currently in talks with the Transmission Company of Nigeria to get an alternative power.
According to the General Manager of Niger State Water Board, Engr. Hassan Mohammed Chado: “Despite the huge resources the state government has been expending on AEDC, power supply has remained one of our major challenge in providing quality, affordable and accessible water to Nigerlites, particularly in Minna and its environs. We spend between N20 million to N30 million every month yet we don’t get the desired power supply.
“I can tell you categorically that with the huge investment the present administration has made on the water sector, particularly the Chanchaga Water Works, the facility can run for 24 hours and supply water non-stop, but for the epileptic power supply, we are handicapped.
“However, we are working seriously to improve power supply at the Chanchaga water works as we are currently discussing with the Transmission Company of Nigeria to get an alternative power supplier for the water works and AEDC knows that we are one of their biggest client they are about to lose.”
Chado told members of the WASH Media Network that “with the current situation, 24 hours water supply to Minna and its environs is not feasible because the state capital is now densely populated and the capacity of the water works cannot accommodate that.
“Despite having the required equipment, we cannot guarantee 24 hours because due to the epileptic power supply, we cannot produce enough water that can go round and serve the people simultaneously and as such we have resulted in rationing the water supply.
“Our major aim is to provide 24 hours water supply to Nigerlites and we are currently working towards its realisation. I can assure you that we will be there in the nearest future especially with the support of the government and media partners.”
Chado disclosed that they were currently working on financial viability of the state water board through commercialisation to enable the board become sustainable, adding that “dependant on government is dampening the sector.”
Speaking on the sustainability of the water supply, the General Manager said the state is already discussing with the French Development Company to invest in the sector and that in the next 10 years there would be a new water works in Minna courtesy.
While commending the media, he admitted that a lot have been achieved in the water sector, but with little or no publicity, promising to improve on the publicity aspect through media partnership.
Earlier, members of the WASH Media Network, led by its Coordinator, Daniel Atori, and some Civil Society Organizations toured the Chanchaga Water Works facilities and rounded up at the State Water Board Complex, Gidan Ruwa, where issues were raised, observations made and questions asked, while the General Manager responded.