Kaduna states in recent times have aroused general critics and comments from Nigerians. Many have argued that this is as a result of the approach towards governance of the current administration. The state under the administration of Governor Mal. Nasir Elrufia has undergone what many see as revolutionary steps towards the betterment of her indigenes. One of such policies which drew attention from all around the country is the school teacher’s saga which has earned both criticism and applause. Speaking with newsmen in an interview is the permanent secretary of the ministry of water resource, Mr. Stephen Joseph according to him the wave of change blowing in Kaduna state has left the ministry with massive impart. Excerpts;
Sir, introduce yourself and explain the achievements of your ministry since this administration came in.
I am Stephen Joseph, the permanent secretary, Ministry of water, Kaduna State.
The Ministry is the ministry that coordinates all the activities concerning water structure in Kaduna State. The Ministry has three agencies. One is Kaduna State Water Corporation (KASWAC). KASWAC is concerned with the provision of potable water to the people living in urban and suburban areas.
We have the (RUWASSA) Rural Water Supply Sanitation Agency, who are responsible for processing bore holes particularly in our semi – urban and rural areas. And then we have the Water Regulatory Authority which is concerned with regulation of water sector generally in the areas of sinking of bore – holes, control and quality of water. They equally deal with the determination of tariff for water generally. So they deal with regulatory activities.
The Ministry in general coordinates the whole water sector, as I told you earlier. We equally carryout research and we are into organizing the whole sector so as to ensure that everything we do is line with the national exploration for water as a whole.
We have KASWAC which is Kaduna State Water Corporation. We have almost about eight water treatment plants in Kaduna State. In Kaduna Metropolis, – Kaduna North, we have two. The old and the new Malali treatment plants with capacity of about 240 million liters per day and we have Kaduna south water work and its capacity runs in millions.
We have two in Zaria. The old one is there; 50 million liters per day and the new one that has been completed and commissioned has the capacity of 150 million liters per day; All in Zaria. So Zaria has in all (the two treatment plants) about 190 million liters per day.
We have a treatment plant in Saminaka. We have a treatment plant in Pwai, we have one in Makara, and we have one in Kagoro.
Some of these treatment plants are as old as eighty years or above, like the ones in North (the old one) and the one in Kaduna South. They are very old. Those ones were built around the twenties. So you have a lot of the equipment there that are aged, and need replacement.
When this government came they decided to address that challenge of these aging equipment and machineries in the treatment plants.
They awarded contracts for the supply of new pumps and other equipment to these treatment plants- these modern pumps that consume less energy
Those pumps have been supplied from Sweden; they are customized. You can’t get them in the open market. They are customized. They have been supplied now. When finally they are installed, I think the issue of machinery and equipment will be a thing of the past.
Apart from that, we have the challenge of chemicals, the alum – aluminum sulphate, which we call the alum. We have chlorine; we have calcium oxide and other chemicals that are used in treatment of water.
When this government came under the leadership of Mallam Nasir Ahmed El rufai, he awarded contract for the supply of all these chemicals. A two year contract was awarded. That was deliberately done in order to take charge of price fluctuations.
The company has been paid about 20% of the total contract sum, as mobilization fee and they have started delivering the chemicals.
We have now overcome the issue of chemicals, by and large. Our major issue now is that of power which is beyond the state government per say, because these are independent companies supplying power. But the state government is in discussion with them to ensure that we now have steady power in these treatment plants so that water can be pumped as and when due. So that people will benefit of clean water especially in the sub-urban areas.
In the area of boreholes, we have (RWASA) which is Rural Water Sanitation Agency. They are charged with the responsibility of supply of potable water in rural areas. Even recently RWASA awarded contract to so many companies to sink boreholes. I cannot say the number because they are into thousands (the bore holes). That is what we call solar boreholes and the hand boreholes including the sanitary aspects too; toilets etc. You know they go hand with hand wash programme which we call water, sanitation and hygiene, because you cannot have a clean environment without water.
You want people to use toilet and not to defecate openly, you have to provide water for them, because we are moving away from pit latrines. We have gone through the VIP-Ventilated Pit Latrines which requires water.
So each of those facilities that are being built in schools; in our rural clinics you need boreholes to supply water for use.
Contracts have been awarded. I think in the next six months or so… sorry in the next two weeks or so, most of them will round off their work. And the contracts were awarded just two months ago.
These have been taking place in phases, right from the MDG days. Now, we are in SDGs. The federal government has declared emergency in the water sector. So states are advised to key in into this. That is, to declare the state of emergency in the water sector in their various states that together both the federal and state governments can move ahead in the area of provision of potable water.
How much do you realize from users of water and willingly are they paying?
You see, water is a complicated sector. When you take water from the treatment plant, you pump it to the service reservoirs through the transmission, from the service reservoirs you pump to distribution network, then the booster stations which are used to energize the water more and pump it further; then the distribution network within the settlements.
Now you have a lot of cases of burst pipe lines. If you move around, any time there is water, you see water gushing around in gutters for so many weeks, for so many day. That is where a lot of revenue is lost. In fact more than 50% of the treated water is lost through leakages. You may not believe it, around 60% is wasted through leakages. And this water is treated at high cost. Think of the machines, think of the chemicals, think of the human resource, and at the end of the day you lose almost sixty percent. Only about forty percent now goes to the houses for human use.
You call it non-revenue water because we get nothing from it. And as far as I know, we charge one cubic litre less than one hundred naira only. Assuming you have a one cubic litre container (one meter, one metre by one metre deep) we charge sixty five kobo or seventy. It is very cheap comparing it to your bottle water.
You made mention of RWASA, an agency of the ministry, what are the sustainability of some of the programmes?
In the case of the bore holes, we have a plan, which essence is that people of the locality are thought how to maintain and operate the facility, especially the hand pumps. They have a committee; they have people from local government who are vast and knowledgeable in that aspect of managing the pumps. Then, they will bring people within the community teach them how to manage them because we discover that most of these pumps once constructed, you find out that just a little challenge, maybe a pin somewhere is broken, then they will abandon it because they don’t have the technical knowhow to mend it. So there is a committee at every local government level. All the local governments, they have staff and we have staff too. They go around teaching these people how to operate and maintain these facilities so that we will have what we call sustainable team.