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Despite Budgeting N10.6 Billion for Water Resources in Four Years, Residents Of Delta’s Major City Still Depend On Private Boreholes For Water

Secret Reporters

In line with Millennium Development Goal no 7, a government is to ensure environmental sustainability, which includes the provision of safe water for the people including those in the rural areas. Also, a state government has the primary mandate to provide accessible and sustainable water supply to the people. However, potable water remains a challenge in Delta State, with a majority of residents in the State still lacking access to safe drinking water.

In the last four years, the Delta State government has budgeted N10, 671,125,661 for the Ministry of Water Resources, which is responsible for rural and urban water supply and technical services. In 2019, N1, 668,278,222 was budgeted for the ministry while in 2020, it was N2, 340,606,626. The budget increased to N2, 809,020,407.00 in 2021 while it was pegged atN3, 853,220,406.00 in 2022. 

Despite the humongous amount pumped into the ministry, a reality check shows that most residents in the State in the urban areas rely on independent boreholes to get water, while those in the rural areas rely on wells, streams, rivers and sometimes, boreholes. 

Residents of Warri, a Delta State major city, cannot attest to the provision of a functional water board by the ministry – as they rely on independent boreholes to get water, and this has been a torn in the flesh of many, mainly because of the epileptic power supply in the State.

In a chat with our correspondent, one Elizabeth Deinduomo, who lives at Airport Road, Warri, said she does not know of any functional water board in her axis. “There is no functional water board here. We use our personal boreholes. I don’t even know anywhere in Warri that there is a functional water board”.

The case is not different at Enerhen junction. A resident in the axis, who identified herself as Favour, told our reporter that she only heard of water board in the news. She stated that she gets water from a neighbouring compound that has a borehole. “There is nothing like water board here. I don’t even know anywhere in Warri where there is a functional water board. We fetch water from boreholes.”

For Rukevwe, who lives outside the city, it is pitiable as he must trek a reasonable distance to locate a compound with a functional borehole. According to him, there is no water board across this axis so they rely on boreholes. He further stated, “I have been here for many years, and we only rely on boreholes for water. My case is even worse because I have to trek a reasonable distance before I can fetch water. We also rely much on rainwater. It will be good if the government can give us a water board”. 

Naomi Onitsha, a resident of Ubeji, did not mince words about the non-availability of a water board in the area. “We have a borehole in our compound. I don’t even know anywhere in the axis where the government is supplying water. Sometimes, the situation here is really bad when there is a long power outage because we need light to pump water”.

These testimonies, raise eyebrows about what the State Government, particularly the Ministry of Water Resources, is doing with the amount allotted to them. It has become a source of concern that has grown into suspicion that Delta State Ministry of Water Resources is one of the government functionaries with few projects and programmes even as monies keep going into the running of the ministry. Again, the trend has led to permutations in the public that the government headed by Ifeanyi Okowa could be diverting funds using the ministry as a channel.

Below is a breakdown of the amount spent by the ministry yearly;

Table showing the budget of the Delta state ministry of water resources in the last four years

Earlier in March 2022, the Delta State Commissioner for Water Resources Development, Evelyn Omavowan Oboro, stated that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa intends to ensure that every Deltan has access to potable water. However, a big question as to how he intends to achieve this still remains unanswered as the governor has a year to the end of his tenure.

Efforts to reach the Commissioner for Water Resources Development, Evelyn Omavowan Oboro, proved abortive as calls put to her line did not go through.

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