Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP) at the weekend indicated her interest in supporting the Federal Government on its ongoing preparations towards school resumption.
President of the association, Michael Ale, made the disclosure while addressing newsmen on the need for boreholes to be in schools and other public places so as to make water available for resuming students and many other Nigerians.
He also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support private drilling industry for COVID-19 responses.
Ale also warned against possible pollution of many boreholes by body fluids of dead people in graveyards, saying government’s failure to properly regulate the water industry has led to arbitrary building of many boreholes more than enough for the country.
Ale revealed that the present COVID-19 pandemic bedeviling the world had showed that government must provide running potable water for human wellbeing.
Speaking recently in an interview with some journalists, Ale stated that with COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world, it shows government, corporate and concerned individuals must do more in providing drinkable and running potable water to save human lives.
Ale, who noted that there was an urgent need for government to not only regulate the water industry and also support private firms willing to participate in the industry, said the ongoing arbitrary proliferation of boreholes occasioned by non regulation of the system will bring healthy living of Nigerians into jeopardy.
While revealing that COVID-19 emergence has mandated that water be available in all public places, he said Nigeria is 45 percent below such level adding that challenges of population explosion and uncontrolled rural development and urbanization have emerged to make government organs rise to their responsibility.
He said: ”l want everyone to know that safe water is a resource. That is why there is an establishment of water resources, I want all to understand that God is magnanimous enough to let us have rain free, but he hid a particular resource under the ground. That is underground water in an aquifer area. What is not controlled is not valued, everyone of us having indiscriminate activities to getting water is our fault, the fault is when the resource is not controlled by the relevant organs of government.
According to him, only about 54% of Nigerian population currently have access to potable water while other 46% are at danger of unclean water.
He said: “By year 1990, about 25% of Nigerian population had access to pipeborne water supply. And between 1990 to 2015, the population who had access reduced to 7% considering the fact that population had increased beyond 200million. We also need to consider landmass expansion where green areas are now being populated by buildings.
“So, my assessment is that, we are not moving forward and this is corroborated by World Bank, FG and NIBS. Talking about general supply of potable water, only about 54% of Nigerian population currently can access it and about 46% shortfall recorded.
“Although, this is increasing through intervention by government, private bodies and other individuals. You can see volume of underground water supply is more than surface water.
“Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it tells us that we needed to do more to save lives by having running potable water. We are looking at 100% access by 2030 and it is achievable if we put things right.
“Challenges of inability to provide potable water for populace are multidimensional and we have to look at the problem from the holistic perspective. The problem is population expansion and inability to control it. Because, population explosion leads to uncontrolled urbanization.
“Today, government priority is shifting from water supply unlike in the past because they feel we have various means to get water. Government should roll out plans to control urban activities. For example, each house should run pipe to connect other pipes outside to ease water supply to homes.
“Water is a resource and it needs to be controlled because what is not controlled is not valuable. There is this issue of indiscriminate drilling activities. This can lead to earth tremor, earth quake, building collapse and other environmental hazards.
“In controlling indiscriminate activities, we must be wary of water pollution especially now there’s issue of COVID-19 pandemic. A buried victim, if not properly buried, his or her body fluid can be washed into our well and contaminate them. That’s why most ailments come from lack of hygiene.
“If there is proper control, a borehole can be sunk in an area and serve about 500 houses and this can save cost and environmental degradation”, Ale explained.