Subscribe Now

Trending News

By using this website, you agree to the use of our cookies.

Plateau communities suffer lack of water as budgeted boreholes are non-existent

It is almost noon, and the queue looks no different from what it had been since around 4 a.m. Water containers of different colours and sizes take up most of the space as mostly women and girls wait their turn to get their share of what has become a scarce commodity. This is Tudun Wada, one of many communities battling with acute water scarcity.
The water scarcity has compounded the already existing economic hardship that has made life unbearable for Salomi Ishaya. Sharing her experience, she feels this is the most difficult time to live.
“I cannot sleep well at night because I don’t have water in the house, and my children and my husband will have to bathe, and we need the water to cook. I came here around 4 a.m., and it is just one container. See what the time is [10:12 a.m.]. It is very hard for us here. See now, no water, no light, and for me, when I go to my shop, nobody comes to buy anything. Things are hard, and this water scarcity just made things worse,” she said.
Residents waiting for water in Tudun Wada
Mrs. Ishaya, a mother of two girls and a son, is a petty trader and has lived in Angwan Sabongari of Tudun Wada for close to seven years now. She is among the many residents who use the only functional borehole in the area. As the only borehole serving thousands of residents, it is outnumbered; residents have to wait for hours to get just a portion of what comes from it, not to mention the small fights that break out at this water point.
Mrs. Ishaya added that “During the rainy season we use rainwater, and some of the wells that are in good condition also help us, but now you will wish you even got the dirty one from the well, but it is not there again”.
Local well at Kpatenvie
It is a similar bitter experience at Kpatenvie Village in Bassa LGA, where Asabe Samson, a 47-year-old mother of four shares how her children have been going to school late all because of
the difficulties in getting water.
“My two older daughters are the ones who go for the water; before they come back, the time is gone, and they will have to get the water to prepare for school. The wells are dried up, and some will have to wait for the water to gather. The borehole here does not usually serve us; you only fetch it in the evening when the water has been pumped. I don’t like it, but they will go to school late because they get us water to use in the morning.”
Another resident of Tafi-Gana village in Bassa spoke of how difficult it is to get water, even with the intervention of a charity organisation that helped sink a solar-powered borehole in their community.
Nonfunctional water point
Esther Bitrus (not real name), a young woman who just got married to Bitrus Madaki (not real name), a farmer in the community, says, “Before now, we used the river, and we woke up very early to get to the river, get the water, and come home to attend to other things for the day, but the rivers are dried up now.’’
She added that “we, the young girls and women, are the ones who have to trek to the other area (about a kilometre away) to get water; for those who are lucky, relatives use bikes to help them get water, and sometimes we use the wells here just because you will see the water so dirty and the new borehole is still not working well”.
Golnen Ntal, a graduate of the University of Jos who resides with his family at Angwan Dutse in Angwan Rukuba in Jos North LGA, shares his ordeal with UDEME.
“We get water from the waterboard just two times a week, Thursdays and Saturdays. Sometimes the water does not rush for up to 2 hours; considering our population, this is not enough, and when you go to the well, there is no sufficient water. We need a sufficient water supply here so that students, workers, and everyone will go about their normal lives without problems.’’
Water scarcity is a major global challenge that affects many aspects of society, including health, food security, economic development, and environmental sustainability.
For the residents of Jos North and Bassa federal constituencies in Plateau State, their well-being and way of life are the most affected as a result of what has become an unending struggle with a lack of potable drinking water.
Non functional water facility at Angwang Rukuba
According to the World Health Organisation, approximately “2.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 4.2 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation services”. This can lead to the spread of water-borne diseases, malnutrition, and poverty.
While the WASHNORM report 2021 presents that 23% of Nigerians do not have access to basic water supply services and only 10% of the population have access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services combined, this undermines the attainment of SDG Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation by 2030.
The residents of Jos North/Bassa federal constituency fall within this bracket, as accessing potable water for use will mean having women and children wake up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to trek long distances in search of water, while others resort to buying from local vendors without knowing the source of the water.
Alfred Belyagal, a geologist with over 16 years’ experience in the WASH sector, attributed the biting water scarcity to inferior works with the available water facilities as well as bad maintenance culture.
“This area has tangible water points, but the issue of maintaining the facility is the problem, as is the lack of proper supervision of some of these works. Some contractors will sink the boreholes at the wrong place(s), and if this happens, the facility will not serve the people,” he said.
“And when you don’t have water in the house, it becomes a big problem; sanitation becomes an issue; no water; bad sanitary practices, which now result in health complications such as water-borne diseases,” he said further.
It is believed that, it was in a bid to help the people, the House of Representatives member of Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency nominated the project titled “Construction of Solar Street Lights, Solar Motorised Boreholes in Bassa and Other Various Communities in Plateau State” in the Federal Government’s 2021 Zonal Intervention Project for N200 million to be executed by the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority.
Another project with the same title appeared in the 2022 Zonal Intervention Project of the Federal Government, this time with an increase of N50 million on the 2021 budgeted cost of N200 million, to be handled by the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority. 
At the time of filing this report, UDEME has not been able to locate the sites of these projects after several visits to communities in Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent to the executing agency, the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, was not replied.
Acknowledged FOI
UDEME gathered that Hon. Musa Agah Avia, who emerged as the member representing Bassa/Jos North federal constituency in the February 26, 2022 bye-election after the demise of Hon. Haruna Maitala in a car accident in April 2021, had in a media chat with journalists in November lamented the non-inclusion of the constituency in the 2022 budget.
However, when UDEME reached out on the state of the project, he said, “I am not in the picture; I was in the house briefly and got sacked by the tribunal”.
Calls and texts to the phone line of the current lawmaker, Hon. Muhammad Adam Alkali was not responded to at the time of filing this report.
Nangor Ndam, the Public Relations Officer of the Plateau State Water Board, reacting to the acute water scarcity around Jos, linked it to “the collapse of the national grid that greatly affected the treatment plant. The building of a flyover bridge at the British-American junction is also a problem because the main pipelines supplying water to central Jos metropolis have been removed to make way for the construction work”.
The Plateau State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency enumerated reasons undermining its primary responsibility of providing water and sanitation facilities to the rural communities in the state, to include lack of funds, poor maintenance of existing water facilities, and poor quality of some water facilities, among others.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved.