Mr Bassey Uwe, a retired Director of Service, Akwa Ibom Water Company, Oron office, on Tuesday in Abuja decried poor access to quality water in rural areas across the country.

Uwe, who made the observation in an interview with the Newsmen, blamed the development on failure by the three tiers of government to live up to their responsibilities.

“Responsibility of water supply in Nigeria is shared between the three tiers of government.

“ The Federal Government is in charge of water resources management; state governments have the primary responsibility for urban water supply, and local government is responsible for rural water supply.“

According to Uwe, the level of water supply in rural communities in the country is poor and the situation is pathetic.

He said that many people, especially women and children, trek several kilometres every morning and evening in search of water.

Uwe explained further that others had to depend on polluted water from ponds, stream, rainwater for domestic use, thereby increasing health hazard.

“Universal access to safe drinking water is a fundamental need and human right, and securing its access will go a long way in reducing illness and death, especially among children.

“Water borne diseases, sometimes in an acute form, are therefore endemic in many of the rural areas, “ he said.

He expressed dissatisfaction over lack of access to safe drinking water which had continued to be one of the most complex challenges facing rural communities in the country.

The expert observed that the poor and inadequate water supplies and other features of underdevelopment were enough to attract the attention of any successive governments in Nigeria.

Uwe, however, opined that if particularly, the state and local governments should go back to the era of distributing water through pipe-borne it would go a long way to mitigate the plight of the rural dwellers.

“In a situation where inadequacies of good water supply has been found to have a direct bearing on the spread of certain water-borne diseases, the strategy will be to improve the quality and source of water supplies in these areas in order to reduce the incidence of such diseases, “ he said.

The retired director, however, identified other factors such as lack of maintenance, lack of community participation, lack of coordination and co-operation among stakeholders, as responsible for the poor water supply in most rural and urban areas of the country.


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