Water in abundance but not drinkable, FCT residents cry out
By George George Idowu
Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Nigeria find themselves in a precarious situation: water, a fundamental necessity for life, flows abundantly, yet its quality for drinking remains questionable, prompting widespread concern among the populace.
In a poignant reflection on the significance of water, a resident of the FCT, Oladele Precious, aptly remarked, “Water should never be taken for granted.” This sentiment underscores the critical role water plays in daily life, from hydration to hygiene.
Despite its importance, accessing clean, potable water is a daily struggle for many within the six area councils of the FCT, as reported by NatureNews.
Last year, the international non-profit organization Water Aid unveiled a five-year strategy aimed at providing easy access to clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene for at least 10 million Nigerians.
This initiative aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 6, which targets universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene by 2030.
However, with several years remaining to achieve these ambitious goals, the reality on the ground paints a different picture. Urban dwellers in the FCT primarily rely on sachets, bottles, or water dispensers for safe drinking water. Even those with access to the water board or private boreholes express doubts about water quality.
Residents like Olukosi Faith laments Nyanya and Joshua Jessa from Angwan.Sanyi in the Kuje area council lament the pervasive reliance on commercial boreholes or water vendors, known as MAI RUWA. While these sources provide convenience, concerns persist regarding the safety and cleanliness of the water they provide.
“It is a commercial borehole we all get water from. Some areas do get water from the water board, but my own area does not,” she said.
Faith added that vast majority of people she knows from that area either drink sachet water or bottle water as they do not find the ones from the water vendor good enough to drink.
“We have borehole water from good individuals in the area while some buy from MAI RUWA.” Jessa said.
“Water gotten from water vendors are not proper for our hygiene that’s why they use that one gotten from MAI RUWA for bathing while they source for drinkable water, even though they are still few people that drink from the water gotten from MAI RUWA as they do not have any other option” he added.
Echoing these sentiments are Racheal Digyak, Treasure Chinelobi, Zakwoyi Eunice, and others representing diverse areas within the FCT.
Despite access to boreholes and water board services, many opt for alternative sources for drinking water due to lingering doubts about its purity.
Mr. Ejike from Sauka community in Lugbe reflects on the hardship faced by those unable to afford alternative sources of drinking water, underscoring the socioeconomic challenges exacerbating the water quality issue.
Ejike said, “We get our water from Hausa people that hawk water around. We buy from them but majority of people don’t drink it because the rubbers used by this people are usually not very clean.”
“It is only those who cannot afford to buy sachet water that drink from water vendors. And I won’t blame them. Things are hard” he
A father of two and a civil servant, Mr. Tobi Olukemitan said they don’t have access to water from the water board. He said almost all the houses within his vicinity have private boreholes.
“Here in Lugbe, we don’t have access to water from water board and even the water we get from bole holes, we don’t drink it. I spend almost 2,000 naira to get sachet water every week.
“I only pity those who do not have the means to get sachet water, table water of water dispenser as they will have no choice than to drink from the available one they see even if it is not good enough” he said.
However, further findings from NatureNews showered there a few people that still drink the water from the water board or boreholes.
Contrary voices, such as Saadatu Adamu from Kubwa, attest to the reliability of water from the municipal supply.
“We have been drinking the water for years. The water is neat and very drinkable and nobody has fallen ill as a result of drinking from it” she said.
However, these testimonials are not universally shared, with many residents expressing ongoing concerns about water quality.
The FCT boasts of five main water treatment plants managed by the Federal Capital Territory Water Board, strategically positioned to serve all six area councils. Despite these efforts, doubts persist, and attempts to engage water board officials for clarification have yielded little resolution.
While water flows abundantly in the FCT, the quest for safe, potable water remains an elusive pursuit for many residents, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to address this pressing issue.