By Ignatius Okorocha
Senate, yesterday, directed its Committee on Water Resources to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources on the completion of work on the abandoned Greater Awka water scheme in Anambra State.
The resolution was sequel to a motion, “The need to complete the abandoned Greater Awka water scheme by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources” sponsored by Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central) during plenary.
Ekwunife, while leading debate on the motion, informed that the project has been abandoned since 2006, adding that it was an extension of the greater Enugu water scheme which has since been completed and commissioned.
She noted that “the initial progress was made in the areas of preparation of bill of engineering measurement and evaluation, BEME, communication was made to the Anambra State government on acquisition of land for Well Field at Amansea after a successful hydro-geological survey before the unexplained abandonment of the whole project.”
The lawmaker added that “by the abandonment of the project, the people who were supposed to be beneficiarie of the water scheme are still drinking from untreated boreholes and natural streams leading to several cases of periodic outbreak of water-borne disease epidemics causing unnecessary loss of lives especially among the children.”
Ekwunife lamented that going by the weak geological formation of Anambra State, indiscriminate drilling of private boreholes in such rock formation poses a very serious danger of earth tremor within and around the South East region.
“These ground water sources come with high acidic of PH 2 to 4 as against World Health Organisation, WHO acceptable standard of PH 6.5 to 9.5. This PH level has the ability of dissolving iron, lead and other dangerous carcinogenic heavy metals into drinking water leading to serious health complications and implications,” he lamented.
Some senators in their contributions to the motion called for the early completion of the project, noting that such often lead to outbreak of water-borne diseases in many communities across the country.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan pointed out that water provision is not an exclusive duty of the federal government, but also the function of the state and local governments as well as the private sector.
Lawan, however, noted that the Water Resources Bill sponsored by the executive, would go a long way in addressing water problem in the country if passed and signed into law and therefore directed the Senate Committee on Water Resources to work with the ministry in re-introducing the bill.
The Senate President, who noted that there were a lot of abandoned water scheme across the country, said the government would need about N5trillion to fix such projects.
He later directed the committee to report back within four weeks.