An expert in water well and borehole drilling and National President, Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners And Practitioners (AWDROP), Michael Ale, has urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, provide wells and borehole for Nigerians, especially those living in rural areas, adding that running water remains very essential in the collective fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ale, who noted that rural dwellers are more vulnerable to the raging pandemic and other communicable diseases if they cannot assess clean running water, urged the government to take effective and efficient action towards drilling wells and borehole in these areas.
AWDROP National President said that many rural and semi-urban areas in Nigeria currently get water either from the stream or wells that are contaminated.
He reminded that one of the main preventive instruction from the World Health Organisation (WHO) against COVID-19 is to wash one’s hands under running water for hygienic purposes, saying “but where are the running taps especially in the villages where many children have to daily visit a hand pump facility and take a stroke by touching the handle before water can be made available for their house chores?”
Ale further noted that the “Stay-at-home order is effective in developed countries because their water infrastructures are piped, but this is not so in developing countries like Nigeria. Many houses in the rural areas are running out of water. Who is their mouthpiece? They can’t directly air their views to the government, that’s why you cannot get any related views on scarcity or non-availability of water during this pandemic.”
Ale, who is a water well and borehole drilling engineer and consultant on water to many international organisations, said that government at all levels should embark on massive drilling of boreholes which is the quickest way of preventing the further spread of the pandemic.
“The Federal Government in some of its ongoing awareness campaigns and jingles has been advocating and advising people to always wash their hands in running water, but the question is how many of such facility is on ground?”
“Even some of the advocates and political office holders who had been at the forefront of this campaign are also seen washing their hands in water basins contrary to what they had been preaching to their followers. This is not right, it exposes the weakness of the leaders in providing adequate infrastructure to the common man.”
The AWDROP national president and development resource person assured that the association is ready to positively and effectively collaborate with relevant government, political office holders and NGOs to provide water for all. He emphasised the importance of water in human lives, saying: “… especially at this time that people are scouting for life, forgetting that Water is Life. Portable and affordable water remains one of the measures taken across the world to also curb community spread of COVID-19 which is now the next phase of the spread of the virus, and this can only be subdued with adequate provision of water, but the strategy must be adaptive.
“On-site sanitation and environmental hygiene is being advocated by Water Sanitation and Hygiene experts around the world, especially in the rural areas because of the need to get water from the public boreholes.
“We, therefore, advise the Federal Government to provide water in schools, hospitals, markets, motor parks, religious centre and other places identified as public places. This gesture will sure help in post-COVID-19 sustenance.
“Government have the capacity to do more with less by subsidiSing borehole cost for Nigerians through their Agro-Rural Water Supply Support Initiative (ARUWASSI). I, as the National Coordinator of this project, which is a collaborative initiative between AWDROP and FMARD, assure government on the current capacity of our association to provide such assistance through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as more Rigs had been procured to manage this current situation,” he said.