IKPEAZU WILL REVIVE ABANDONED WATER SCHEMES IN ABIA STATE – LEO OGBONNA
The administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in Abia State is set to revive the State water schemes in such that every household in the urban cities of Umuahia and Aba would have access to good drinking water.
The General Manager of Abia State Water And Sewage Corporation, Engineer Chiemela Leo Ogbonna, broke the cheering news, in an exclusive interview with ABIA ONLINE, in his office at Umuahia.
Engr. Ogbonna disclosed that the first phase of the project in Umuahia will be commissioned very soon while the Aba Water project in Ariaria and CKC, which is expected to serve the municipality of Aba, will be commissioned later.
The GM, who observed that Abia State inherited 57 existing Water schemes from the old Imo State, regretted that successive administrations in the State had abandoned the schemes thereby exposing citizens unclean and untreated borehole water.
According to him, “We are developing a water laboratory now at Umuahia regional water scheme, what that water laboratory will serve is that, intermittently, this our pipe network has been there for a long time, we will be checking this water, carrying out analysis on the water to know the efficiency of the water we’re serving; that one is being powered by USAID.
“So when that one comes on, even in your water in your household, if you invite us, we will take samples of your water, analyze it in our lab and tell you the status of water you are taking. In doing that, it will go a long way in complimenting what the health sector is doing. Because our target is to decongest our hospitals. We’ve found out that access to bad water is why our hospitals are congested.”
Engr Ogbonna, while maintaining that the lack of access to good drinking water was the cause of diseases like cancer and other water borne diseases, insisted that the idea of having the treated pipe borne water was to curtail the rate at which people keep drilling borehole.
He noted that it is cheaper to have pre-paid metre in the house and to have a 24 hour supply of water, adding that the essence of reviving the entire water scheme was to have a sustained supply of water in people’s houses.
“For instance in Umuahia municipality alone, we have a satellite scheme now at Ugba na Nkata gravitational tank, we have this one here. So why are we doing this, whichever way, so that we have water 24 7, you won’t say it’s breakdown from this section, while the other one is pumping, as you know, the one can still distribute water to the municipality of Umuahia if we complete it and this one can distribute water to the municipality of Umuahia.”
On the project going on at the State Water Board and Sewage Corporation, the General Manager explained that Abia was among the nine states selected, on third National urban water reform project of the World Bank through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, revealing the the project carries some palliatives that will lunch the State into the main investment.
Explaining further, he said, “In the next one or two years, we will be qualified to draw down 200m dollars from the sector. This is that magic I’m telling you, we’ve done all this study, we know what to do, we know where to go, we have the Water investment plan in Abia; we’ve done the plans already, what we are waiting for is the funding.
“This palliatives you are seeing, we would have commissioned this project in June but due to this Covid-19, they have moved it to August and as I’m telling you, the contractors are working even now, they have requested for us to write a letter which the SSG is writing, for them to be able to move this pumps and the generator from Lagos, so that they cannot be intercepted on the road because this is for water project, once they put these pumps and the generator, we’re good to go, we’re tidying up other things locally because they can’t move from Abia.
“Then the USAID project, they are doing some palliatives, I gave them Aba, Ariaria and CKC and the reticulation of Aba and the master plan of Aba. They are doing it, they have engaged their contractors, their consultants, in fact, this afternoon I got the approval of how many pumps they’re going to procure in Ariaria but I don’t want to make noise about it. These are coming from the best two donor agencies in the world, why won’t it work?
“The truth is that we are working and Government has been so supportive. They have paid the counterpart fund for the World Bank project, and they have given like we are not paying counterpart fund for USAID project but we are doing a counterpart project which the Government is funding and they are funding that project. Like as I said, the Governor in his wisdom gave me high-powered Committee comprising the people I listed before now, and that is why things are moving and I like it because if we are all involved, what I want to do is to achieve this project. If we’re all involved, this will move, it will run considering where it is coming from. This is coming from USAID and the other is coming from World Bank.
“The good thing about it is that, these two projects have training components, most of my workers here are going on training every other time except this Covid-19 period both Internationally and locally. So what we’re looking at is the sustainability, not when I leave here tomorrow somebody cannot step into my shoes. So I’m grooming others within here who can take over from me effectively. If we’re looking at it from the sustainability angle, if they’re being trained now alongside myself, alongside even other junior workers
You can understand that two years ago the Governor gave us a waiver and we employed 39 people, those people have been going on training and retraining locally for now. If not this Covid-19, the timetable World Bank gave us most of them would be going for International studies in Dubai or Brussels or Japan to study, maybe three months how effective they’re working and we do that knowledge transfer back to this place.”
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He thanked the Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for his interest in the projects as well as being very supportive by paying counterpart funds required to access the projects.