By Bashir Bello
There seems to be no end in sight to the lingering acute shortage of potable public water in Kano as residents now wander about in search of water for their daily needs. Residents are unaware of reason for the sudden drying up of public water supply and they are concerned at the high prices they are made to pay in their bid to access water. In some areas, residents cannot remember when last they saw water running from their taps.
Residents in Kano Municipal, Dala, Nasarawa, Taurauni, Gwale and Fagge local government areas are now left with no option than to source for water from boreholes or water vendors, thereby exposing them to unclean water and imminent water-borne diseases. The scarcity of public water supply comes with high cost: skyrocketing prices for water provided by private third parties as the state looks for ways and means of rectifying the problem. A resident of Sabon Gari in Fagge LGA, Mr. Dare, said the prices of water in the area are gradually becoming unbearable. “The cost of water we buy here in Sabon Gari is on the high side. The prices vary based on the area and the height of building. If they carry it to first floor, they charge N40 while it is sold for N50 to those in second floor and subsequently N10 difference depending on the number of floors. Formerly, they sold water they fetched from boreholes at N20 while tap water sold for N25 but it’s now N40 and N50 respectively.
“When we interacted with water vendors they told us that they were made to pay double the price they used to pay before now to the Kano State Task Force on Internal Revenue and that they themselves also need to make money for themselves. They also said that due to the absence of power, they use generator to pump water and they also need to recoup their expenses.”
A car wash operator along Audu Bako Way (Magwan) in Nassarawa LGA, Mr. Aminu, said they now buy water for N50 per gallon compared to the N30 they used to buy before the sudden jerk in price. “It is unfortunate that in a state like Kano we buy water. A gallon of water is now sold for N50 unlike in the past when we used to buy it for N30. The whole truck(that is with 20 gallons) was N500 or N600 before but it is currently sold for N800 or N1,000. They fetch the water from far away Grand Central Roundabout or Obasanjo Way. The story is same in Gwale where we buy water N30 and before now it was sold for N20.” A water vendor who spoke to Arewa Voice, Muh’d Kano, said the hike was as a result of the distance they go in search of the pump water coupled with the tax levy paid to the revenue board. “We cover long distances in search of pump water, hence the increase in the price. It is sold for as high as N60, while the borehole is N30. And then we pay N50 as revenue to the government everyday.”
So it is from what we make in a day that we pay the revenue,” Muh’d stated.
While not willing to explain what has suddenly dried up public water supply in the town, the state government says it has made a whooping provision of N6 billion in the 2022 budget for the supply of water to the state and its environs. The State Commissioner of Water Resources, Alhaji Muhammad Sadik, who stated this while fielding questions from newsmen after defending the 2022 budget for the ministry, said the allocation was in addition to a loan secured from France and supports from donors among others.
He said the money will be spent on provision of portable drinking water and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure including the dams – Tamburawa Water Treatment plant and Challawa Water Treatment plant. “Our major focus is provision of portable water supply especially in face of health challenges recorded in the state and also rehabilitation of our existing infrastructure including the dams so as to improve irrigation services for the local farmers. And residents will soon experience change with the supply of water.
“Tamburawa Water Treatment plant has a capacity of 120 million litre per day while Challawa water treatment plant has a capacity of 90 to 120 million litre per day. It all depends on the amount of electricity or generating set. We usually run between 30 to 60 per cent deficiency,” Sadik said.