Paul Osuyi, Asaba
About N2.5 billion is being expended on procurement, construction and rehabilitation of water supply assets in Delta State by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children Education Funds (UNICEF) under the Niger Delta Support Programme (NDSP).
However, the state government is responsible for 30% of the funds in a counterpart arrangement with the global agencies.
Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr. Fidelis Tilije who confirmed this on Monday during a ministerial press briefing, said Delta was one of the states selected for the NDSP intervention in water schemes.
In the first tranche of the programme, Tilije said EU/UNICEF has already committed N1.5 billion directly to contractors for rocpurement, construction and rehabilitation of water supply assets, following the payment of the counterpart of over N404 million by the state government.
He said the N1.5 billion also cover soft components of capacity building, stakeholder workshops, research and studies, meetings and others.
Tilije stated that the international bodies single handedly built and donated the N150 million Structural Data Centre at the state Urban Water Board premises in Asaba, adding that delivery of the required equipment to make the centre functional is being expected in few weeks.
The commissioner disclosed that the state government has approved N300 million as counterpart fund for the second tranche of the partnership which will require EU/UNICEF to pay N700 million.
He explained that the second tranche will be committed to the rehabilitation of 75 water schemes, construction of 50 new ones, reticulation of 1.5 kilometers for each of the water schemes and the construction of two pour flush toilet facilities in 25 primary schools.
“From the experience of the first tranche we can confirm that the EU/UNICEF will expend not less than additional N250 million towards the implementation of the software components.
“The implementation of the NDSP so far has culminated in the institutional strengthening of the various line MDAs that are collaborating in the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, including Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) through the agreed soft components.
“The capacity of relevant staff of the Ministry of Water Resources Development and its three agencies, line MDAs, the project LGAs, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and representatives of communities. The Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees (WAHCOMS) and Water Consumers Associations (WCAs), have been greatly enhanced,” Tilije said.
Despite the monetary commitment, residents of the state have to decry lack of access to potable public water supply to their homes, as they continue to depend on private boreholes for domestic water usage.