22 July 2003

Nigeria: Opara Decries State of Water Supply

Abuja — Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara has bemoaned what he described as the poor state of water supply in the country despite the huge resources committed to the sector by government.

He also decried the practice of according priority to the cities in utter neglect of the rural areas in the distribution and supply of water.

The lawmaker expressed these concerns yesterday in Abuja, while inaugurating the House Committee on Water Resources.

While assuring the Commit-tee that the House would strive to make adequate funds available for its operation, Opara urged them to review existing legislations in the sector with a view to retaining only the relevant ones.

Earlier in his address, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Abayomi Collins, said his Committee's target is to achieve 80 percent water supply needs of Nigerians.

Collins listed outdated legislations, poor metering system, over-stretched facilities, poor financing and poor management of existing facilities as some impediments to attaining good water supply.

"The current system of poor metering and billing for water usage coupled with increasing water demand for domestic, industrial and agricultural activities have created the situation in which water agencies and corporations have not been able to generate enough revenue to sustain and improve on services to their customers by way of expansion and modernization of their aging installations. As a result, existing facilities and infrastructures have become outdated, overstretched and therefore not able to function and provide desired services," Collins said.

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