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Govt asks states to declare emergency in water sector

Govt asks states to declare emergency in water sector

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Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The Federal Government on Monday charged state governments to declare a state of emergency in the water sector in their various jurisdictions.

According to the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, the Federal Government will henceforth only work with states that declare emergency in their water sectors.

He said the new resolution was because the government wanted the country’s water supply and sanitation services to improve dramatically in order to avoid aggravating their already dire consequences on the health and well-being of the citizens.

Adamu stated these at a workshop organised in Abuja for operators in the sector from the federal and state governments.

He said, “I am happy to inform this gathering that the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Action Plan was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council, including the declaration of a state of emergency in the WASH sector. This declaration seeks to put the full weight of the Federal Government behind addressing the sector’s shortcomings and challenges.

“I trust that the declaration of the state of emergency will change the narrative surrounding the sector and set the stage for a reversal of current trends under the guidance of the National WASH Action Plan. I, therefore, appeal to state governments to be committed to the implementation of the WASH Action Plan and declare their own state of emergency at the state level. It is only by so doing that we shall henceforth be committed to work with such states.”

Providing reasons why the states should comply, Adamu stated that more than 60 per cent of the rural population live more than 30 minutes away from a working water source.

He also stated that less than a third of the country’s population had access to sanitation facilities that hygienically separate human excreta from human contact.

The minister observed that in the urban areas, a lot of citizens had adopted self-help as the water utilities were not serving majority of the population.

“Access to piped water on premises that was about 32 per cent in 1990 had declined to seven per cent as of 2015. Beyond low levels of access to improved water sources, the sector is also constrained by poor water quality, inefficient service delivery and failing infrastructure,” the minister told participants at the workshop.

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