Raymond Ozoji, Awka
In spite of the collaborative efforts of the Anambra State Government, European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in providing unhindered access to clean and potable water for the citizenry, some disgruntled elements are bent on destroying and stealing water installations across the state.
These developments pose serious threat to availability and accessibility of water for domestic and industrial use in the state.
On the other hand, the collaboration between development partners and the state government has given birth to awareness creation on basic hygiene practice and sanitation in schools and health facilities across Anambra state.
This partnership has also led to the execution of some water projects with a view to ensuring access to water to achieve reduction in preventable diseases through hand-washing and improved sanitary conditions.
On the contrary the effort of the state government in the water sector is being frustrated by vandals who destroy and cart away very capital intensive instruments from water installations intended to guarantee steady water supply.
In order to actualise the intention of the Anambra State Government and development partners in the water sector, government decided to reactivate water laws and regulations to mete out penalties for individuals who trespass on water facilities across the state.
Programme Manager of the Anambra State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency Mr.Victor Ezekwo who spoke at a workshop in Awka on Monday on the status of the water sector, said the state government plans to introduce what he called anti-theft measures to protect water facilities in the state.
Ezekwo stated that community involvement and ownership of water facilities was one of the security measures government would leverage on to ensure protection and sustainability of water projects in various communities.
According to him, governnent is currently spending huge sums of money rehabilitating about 116 non-functional water borehole installations across the state partly on account of activities of vandals who destroy the facilities.
Though he disclosed that about 70% of the 116 rehabilitated water facilities had been made functional and providing water to the populace, he also stated that government would in no distant time embark on the second phase of rehabilitating another 380 non-functional borehole water facilities to ensure that there was no water scarcity in the state, stressing that all rural and urban water schemes were being revamped.
According to him, Anambra state has enabling ground for EU and UNICEF to implement their programmes as well as support government to ensure best practices in the WASH sector especially as it concerns best hygiene practices, behavioural change and ensuring access to quality water.
In the same vein, the UNICEF WASH officer of the Enugu field office Mr.Jonathan Ekhator said despite challenges of theft and vandalisation of water facilities in Anambra state, the collaboration between EU, UNICEF and the state government had improved access to water and sanitation for women and children.
He also said that the state government had been very responsive in meeting its financial obligations which according to him largely contributed to the success of WASH and development programmes in Anambra state.