An expert in water resources and National President of the Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP) Engr. Micheal Ale, has raised the alarm that many private borehole operators are already taking advantage of the growing scarcity of water being witnessed in many parts of the country, to exploit Nigerians.
Ale also said that many unlicensed private drilling operators have begun charging exorbitant fees for their services to the detriment of Nigerians.
Although he attributed the unwholesome development to the nation’s current economic challenges leading to rising costs of drilling tools such as casings and fuel, the national President of AWDROP said that the alarming rate at which the operators charge their clients to render drilling services amounts to extortion of Nigerians.
The national President therefore urged government to urgently come to the aide of the citizenry by urgently subsidizing the cost of providing alternative water sources for the people, especially during this pandemic period mostly for people in the rural area.
He warned private operators to desist from deliberate extortion of unsuspecting Nigerians and further urged government to get rid of unlicensed private operators currently populating the water resources industry in Nigeria.
Ale, who had earlier decried a rising scarcity of water in the country, proffered other workable solutions to the challenge.
Bemoaning extortion by private drilling operators, he said: “Many water operators are now extorting without remorse.
“Government can support the association to stem this extortion by subsidizing cost of drilling for the masses.
Addressing the government on the need for urgent intervention, he added: “Many water schemes projects from government and agencies should be critically reviewed, if not, the projects are bound to fail.
Many operators are not licensed to sell water, so, if water vending caused illness, the citizen has the right to approach court of law.
“Water scarcity is hitting many states now and the cost of drilling is getting high because of the exchange rate and the materials for borehole drilling. The cost of drilling is high which is mounting more pressure on government to provide water.
“This scenario is making the vulnerable more exposed to health risks which will in turn make government spend more on the health sector. My advice to the state where such instance is precarious is to have a water supply resilient plan where emergency response is prompt.
“It is important to also note that government has responsibility to make water available to citizens, that is ensuring access to potable water at affordable and subsidized cost, because many have paid their price through energy explored to get water from hand dug well or borehole far away from their location.
Proffering more solutions to the challenges, Ale, who informed newsmen about efforts being made by his association, AWDROP, to curb the wanton extortion against Nigerians, assured that professional drillers’ register will soon be opened so Nigerians will know who to patronize when it comes to borehole drilling in the country.
He said: “Finally, decentralized water supply system is geared towards location where there is no transmission pipeline, hence access is still very important. This method will create employment opportunities for the youth through training of various artisans on pipe repairs and plumbing works,” Ale said.