By Bashir Bello
KATSINA – The joy of residents of Unguwar Alhaji Ilu community in Kankara local government area of Katsina state, who have lived for over four decades without potable water knew no bounds weekend as they now have a solar-powered borehole worth more than N5million. The borehole was constructed by communal efforts.
The people of the community said before the construction of the borehole, they had to go for several kilometers in search of water for domestic use and for animal consumption.
A resident of the community, Malam Abubakar Ilu said the community had been yearning for potable water for more than four decades.
“We lived for more than four decades in this community yearning for potable water and for other domestic uses. We would go several kilometers with our families in search of water for use. Our people really went through a lot of hardship”, Malam Ilu said.
He said having lived for decades without pipe borne water, the residents then resolved to join hands together to construct the borehole. And in order to safeguard the facility, the community has engaged the services of a security guard to watch over the borehole against vandals and thieves.
According to Malam Ilu, “Considering the hardship we have gone through in search of water, the community is ready to go extra mile in safeguarding the facility from thieves and vandals.
“To match words with action, the community has since embarked on construction of a building to serve as a shelter for those to be charged with the responsibility of monitoring and guarding the facility near the site of the water project.
Similarly, in Jigawar Aunai community, Dutsi Local government area of the state, the residents have decided to part with N50 on weekly basis for the maintenance of their hand pump borehole.
A resident, Malam Abdulhamid Abubakar said with the provision of the hand pump machine, the community was relieved of the burden of searching for water around.
He said “the community has already set machinery in motion for effective maintenance of the facility by introducing weekly contribution of fifty Naira by each household for the upkeep of the borehole.
“We have so far realized about fifty thousand since the commencement of the exercise. No doubt, this has contributed in no small measure in the sustainability of the water projects as record has shown that many benefitting communities of these projects have continued to ensure functionality of their water points as they wasted no time in effecting repairs whenever such facilities were faulty”.
However, the Executive Director of Rural Water Supply And Sanitation Agency, RUWASSA, Engineer Aminu Dayyabu Safana said many water projects have been executed in many communities in the state by the state government in collaboration with some international development partners.
He said 1,804 hand pumps and 57 solar powered boreholes had been provided to communities while about 1,020 hand pumps, as well as 102 solar powered boreholes were also rehabilitated and handed over to the benefitting communities.
Following past experiences where several water projects were left neglected without adequate care, which often led to breakdown of the facilities thereby taking the communities to the former era of water hardship, the RUWASSA boss said, an effective community participation and system of ownership was introduced into the scheme to ensure sustainability of all the facilities provided.
“Under this scheme, Katsina State RUWASSA being the implementation Agency through its department of Community Mobilisation and Public Relations ensures that every benefitting community is sensitized and mobilized on full participation in the project. This is done through the formation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene committee (WASHCOM) to serve as a platform whereby every community would take over operation and maintenance of its facility upon completion and handing over.
“To encourage the beneficiaries on this concept, the Agency makes it a duty to conduct training for the beneficiaries on basic repairs of water facilities as well as on secretarial duties and financial record keeping and also purchase and distribute working materials such as repair tools and stationeries to be able to utilize the knowledge in repairing their facilities in the event of breakdown and for their effective management,” Engr. Safana said.