Okwe Obi, Abuja
For residents of Mararaba, on the outskirts of Abuja, life has not been what it should be, or even what it used to be, as hard as it was described in the past, as a result of scarcity of water.
Oftentimes, elderly women, young girls and boys are seen clutching buckets and empty kegs searching for water.
If there is any business that thrives very well in the area now, it has to do with some people who sell water using barrows and trucks.
Mararaba might not be the only place that lacks water in the FCT but it is arguably the worst hit. Nobody can overemphasise the importance of water in any society.
According to a recent report of the United Nations, “based on estimate of requirement on lactating women who engage in moderate physical activities above average temperature, a minimum of 7.5 litres per capita per day will meet the requirement of most people under most conditions.
“This water needs to be of a quality that represents a tolerable level of risk. However, in an emergency situation, a minimum of 15 litres is required. A higher quality of about 20 litres per capita per day should be assured to take care of basic hygiene needs and basic food hygiene. Laundering/bathing might require higher amounts, unless carried out at sources.”
Even in the abundance of water, a lot of Nigerian citizens are still finding it difficult to have access to it. Some areas in the Federal Capital Territory suffer avute water shortage such that most residents have been groaning and pleading with the FCT authorities to intervene and salvage the situation.
Peter Gwax, a resident of Mararaba, said: “We mostly depend on people who sell water in trucks, popularly called mai ruwa. A 20-litres gallon of water that is now N20 and a full truck is N200.”
Thomas Odue, another resident, said: “The water, sometimes, is unhygienic for consumption, which has given rise to cholera. Wells are indiscriminately dug.”
Borehole restrictions will surface if the water resources bill gets the nod of the National Assembly.
The cost of housing is skyrocking due to the inclusion of water as one of the basic amenities in the rent. Estates such as Sunnyvale Estate are the most hit because they rely on private supply. Dei-Dei and Gwagwalada are not exempted from the lack.
The minimum wage is still at N18,000 without any foreseeable increment and most residents are finding it difficult to cope.
More so, the rainwater this season has not been sufficient and drinkable because it trickles from rusty zinc roofs.
People who enjoy steady pipe-bourne water supply in the FCT at affordable rates are those in urban areas such as Maitama, Wuse, Gwarinpa, Garki, and so on.
The situation is has boosted the sale of sachet water popularly called “pure water.”
Moreover, broken water pipes are all over the place. The one that is most evident is at Jabi, close to Rock of Ages Plaza. Some drivers who have turned it into a stream to wash their vehicles and others who have taken advantage of the flowing water from the burst pipe told Daily Sun that the broken PVC pipe had stayed in that despicable state for more than one year.
Olu told daily sun that the leakage was not evident at first but when passers-by saw it, they decided to puncture it so that the water would gush out faster.
“When I first saw it, last year December the hole wasn’t that big. But as the people around saw it as a means of helping themselves they dug it that is why you see it coming out this much.”
A chat with one of the officials at the ministry of water resources claimed that it was not the ministry’s to provide water to houses. That the ministry is a regulatory body and supervised other agencies under it.
If residents in the FCT are encountering such difficulty, it leaves one with a sad and worrying imagination what residents in rural areas go through.