July 24, 2020

Bauchi rural communities of water scarcity, high bills

Bauchi rural communities of water scarcity, high bills

By Charly Agwam

Some Bauchi communities have called on the state government to urgently provide them potable water to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and other deadly diseases   in the state.

According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, water has been identified as one of the resources required for controlling the spread of coronavirus. But Gwallaga, Wunti and Yan-Tifa communities of Bauchi LGA are lamenting shortage of water for their day-to-day activities.

The communities lamented high bills and low quality of water supplied by Bauchi State Water and Sewerage Corporation, BSWSC. They also decried the rate at which they fall sick from typhoid, cholera and other waterborne diseases over the past months.

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The spokesman of the communities, who is also the Ward Head of Gwallaga, Alhaji Dandada Ahmadu, recounted his people’s challenges to include low water pressure and low duration of water supply to consumers, which he described as inadequate especially in the COVID-19 era.

According to him, “water is very important for our day to day activities, especially in this season of uncertainty.

“Some of our challenges also include pipe blockages, pipe leakages, supply of muddy water, low frequency and unfulfilled promises of free water by politicians. Our children frequently fall sick to water-related ailments.

“Most of the World Bank water projects are located in the interiors of the state, where there are no pipe borne water. The only option we have is to buy water from ‘Meruwa’, which is very expensive.

“Although, there are ongoing works to distribute water to various places in Bauchi city, clean pipe borne water cannot come soon enough for our rural people who are in dire need of it.”

Meanwhile, WaterAid has said about 3.9 million Bauchi residents lack access to water and basic sanitation services, adding that the crisis affects schools and healthcare centres across the state.

Country Director of the organisation, Anialogu-Okoye who spoke through one of her senior staff, Ukame Essien, said the outbreaks of diseases and increase the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections mostly affect low-income families in rural areas.

Anialogu-Okoye further stated that Bauchi has a long way to go and is off-track to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6 targets on water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030.

He said: “Bauchi State has 3.9 million people who do not have access to water, sanitation and hygiene, according to WHO statistics. This scarcity contributes to the continuous outbreaks of diseases like cholera, Lassa fever and the increase of antibiotic-resistant infections.

“The resultant effects are seen in unhygienic hospitals, lower-levels of girl-child education, stunting, wasting and poor cognitive development in children.

“In 2018, Bauchi recorded 9,725 cholera cases resulting in the death of 28 people, with women recording the higher number of cases,” the WaterAid Chief added.

However, the Managing Director of Bauchi State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency, RUWASSA, Engr Babaji Magaji, who had earlier referred Arewa Voice to the Commissioner for Water Resources, said shortage of water in rural areas is natural.