This Day (Lagos)

22 February 2005

Nigeria: Govt to Install Solar Water Treatment Plants

Asaba — Delta State, government is to install solar powered water treatment plants for underground water with high concentration of iron in its riverine communities.

Commissioner for Water Resources Development, Dr Alex Ideh said it was a move by government to forestall future outbreak of cholera and other water borne diseases in the riverine communities of the state which has been facing the problem of high concentration of iron underground.

Dr Ideh who briefed the press on the activites of his ministry since 1999, lamented the recent cholera outbreak in Oko and the powerline settlement near Asaba which claimed the lives of 18 people including that of a 70 year-old man.

He said "it was only through the provision of solar powered water treatment plant that such occurrence could be arrested in the future, as the excess iron in the underground waters in riverine communities could be controled there-from."

On the activites of his ministry which is largely unfelt by the people, Ideh said the attention of the ministry would focus on the functionality of already existing schemes across the state rather than embarking on the award of new contracts.

He assured that "in the next three months, the syndrome of 'water, water everywhere yet no water to drink,' would be a thing of the past."

The commissioner also hinted that the state would call on the NDDC, UNDP, and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for assistance in the areas of manpower training for the skilled and unskilled staff, and the provision of vehicles.

Continuing, the commissioner said "already, the state is laying large network of pipelines in the urban towns of the state such as Warri, Ughelli, Sapele, Agbor and Asaba for water supply. He said "the state would develop the Otulu River basin because of its large deposit of a reservour of shallow potable water which will go a long way in solving the water problem of the people of Delta North zone.

Reacting to the question on the barrage of burst pipelines which dot several parts of the state, resulting in the continued wastage of water from public supply, the commissioner attributed it to the lacklustre attitude of staff and cassual workers who he noted often stayed up to a year without any salary.

"This is the main reason for their carefree attitude in this regard but, I can assure you that the situation is already being checked."

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