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Minister blames states, councils for water scarcity

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Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, has attributed inadequate supply of potable water to the failure of state governments and councils to prioritise investment in essential water infrastructure, treatment and distribution.

Adamu told The Guardian that “it is the responsibility of the state government,” not the Federal Government, to provide potable water for citizens.

“Our ministry is not directly responsible for the provision of potable water to the citizens. That responsibility lies with the state and local governments,” he said.

He disclosed that in a survey carried out by the ministry, in collaboration with the World Bank in 2015, it was discovered that access to public water supply declined from 32 per cent in 1990 to less than seven per cent in 2015.

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“The rate of investment by state governments on the development of water supply infrastructure is far less than the population growth rate, thus making water supply to be far below water demand by the people.

“There is weak capacity on the part of state water agencies that manifest in poor management practices in areas of both operation and maintenance, as well as revenue generation,” he said.

According to him, there is political interference by state governments, which results in lack of autonomy for the water agencies on manpower issues, revenue generation and procurement decisions.

“There is lack of strategic plan, as most states do not have a masterplan for long-term development. Most of the efforts are based on quick fixes that do not usually stand the test of time,” the minister lamented.

Conscious of these challenges, the ministry, he explained, had been incentivising state governments for enhanced Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services by instituting many initiatives for promotion of appropriate partnerships between the federal and state governments, as well as national and international development partners.

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Suleiman Adamu
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