ASABA/Nigeria: The public, especially those living in riverine areas in the state have been advised to shun open defecation into their source of water supply such as stream and river in order to avoid being contaminated with cholera and waterborne diseases capable of threatening their lives.
The General Manager, Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (STWSASA), Engr Anthony Unuafe gave the advice in Asaba while speaking to newsmen.
Engr Unuafe decried the alarming rate of cholera and waterborne diseases and disclosed that it had been observed that Nigeria was the second worst country with open defecation.
He stated that STWSASA was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring sustainable water supply and sanitation to small towns with the population strength of about 5000 and 20,000, adding that some of its water provision programmes was through the counterpart contribution which federal government paid 50 percent, state government 30 percent with the local government providing the remaining 20 percent.
According to Engr Unuafe, “Communities were always involved in the process of water supply in order for them to protect and guide against the vandalization of the facilities, stressing that after the completion of the construction of water schemes, government would hand them over to the community so as to guarantee ownership. ”
Engr Unuafe disclosed that a baseline study had been conducted in some small towns, saying that 69 of the schemes had been visited to be able to ascertain their physical states out of which 26 of the water schemes that were inherited from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) had been rehabilitated.
The STWSASA General Manager who stated that in 2015/2016, the Agency had carried out the supervision of Owa-Alero and Ofurugbe water schemes, rehabilitated old Urban Water Board, noted that STWSASA started with four pilot water schemes in 2012 namely Ebu, Oleh, Ekakprame and Owhelogbo communities.
He maintained that though Ebu water scheme in Oshimili North Local Government Area had witnessed some hiccups which had stalled the completion of the project after achieving about 80 percent progress, efforts had been made to ensure its successful completion.
He called on non-governmental organisations, international organizations and good spirited individuals to partner with the agency in its determination to ensure affordable and accessible provision of sustainable water supply in the state, adding that water was a critical sector that should be accorded the needed attention as human life was depended largely on the amount of water consumption.