By Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin â€” The age-long water crisis in Kwara State seems set for a final end before the present administration expires in 2011 asÂ about 8.3 billion Naira has been earmarked for theÂ expansion andÂ rehabilitation of all the existing 78 damsÂ across the state.
Governor Bukola Saraki, while speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, weekend, said this decision became imperative in order to complement the ongoing widely appreciated efforts of the present administration to make Kwara a world class state in the area of provision of infrastructures and economic development.
He explained that of the amount, about N2 billion is to be expendedÂ on the provisions of â€œhigh and low lifts to boost water distribution, especially within Ilorin metropolis and its adjoining settlements.â€
He noted that government had earlier spent N928 million on the initial rehabilitationÂ works on Asa Dam, considered the biggest dam, adding that part of the money,Â Â which is expected to come from theÂ recent bond agreement between the state and the Stock Exchange market would also be used for re-laying of water pipes within the town.
The governor also said that new pipes would be procured to link the town reservoirs such as Oke-Ose, Oloje and the easternÂ part of Ilorin at the outskirts .
The governor recalled that â€œwhen this government came on board someÂ yearsÂ Â ago, there was a precarious situation we inherited, thereÂ was no water any where. The biggest dam we have is Asa dam with a capacity of 12 million gallons of treated waterÂ perÂ day.
But we met this dam being able to provide only twoÂ million gallons per day.â€™â€™,
â€œThis government then had to intervene and the damÂ onÂ interim measure was providing four million gallons perÂ day. Later the government expanded the dam and had aÂ capacity ofÂ Â 13.5million gallons per day.â€
He explained that , the federal government hadÂ promisedÂ another dam with a capacity of 12million gallonsÂ daily. ButÂ the federal later abandoned the project to the stateÂ afterÂ spending a sum of about N1.2billion on it.
Today withÂ theÂ Â state governmentâ€™s intervention, the governor said Asa Dam has aÂ Â capacity ofÂ N25.5million gallons of water per day.
He maintained that the increased volumeÂ didÂ not guarantee free flow of pipe borne water intoÂ everybodyâ€™s home, due to lack of sufficient pumpingÂ machines and the expansion in the state.
He said the available high and low lift-pumpingÂ Â stations,Â Â could only pump total ofÂ 12millionÂ gallons of water daily.