By Bature Dan-Inni
Residents of Katsina metropolis and environs are currently undergoing severe water shortages which has brought discomfort and hardship to them, Investigations by GovernanceNews have revealed.
The water scarcity has been persisting for over forty-five days now, resulting to citizens buying water for barrow pushers popularly known as “Mai Ruwa” who trek kilometres to get water and sell to residents.
The situation has left many residents frustrated as water authorities have not suggested that there is any hope in sight yet.
To show the extent of the water scarcity, a particular gutter which residents say for more than forty-five years has been used for irrigation faring is now completely dried.
The gutter our reporter learnt is located around Kofar Marusa road which is part of Lambun sarki (Kings Garden) where mostly young people engaged themselves in irrigation activities.
In an interview, Malam Ali Kofar Marusa, a resident of Kofar Marusa told GovernanceNews that the gutter has never dried up for the years he had lived in the area.
“I am over 40yrs now and since I was born, I have never seen this gutter dried up until this year. It is completely dried that people who use it for irrigation farming cannot even access any water there.
“Before now, farmers who embark on irrigation farming of crops like carrot, green beans, tomatoes, pepper, groundnut, cabbage among others take advantage of the water that comes for the gutter plant and harvest their crops, but it’s not possible now.
“For now, I don’t know what has caused, it but it is just like a mystery. I have not seen in my life that a whole gutter like this in Katsina will go dry,” Kofar Marusa added.
Another resident of Katsina metropolis who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the whole problem is government’s lack of proper planning and implementation which led to the shortage of water supply across the state and especially within the metropolis.
He lamented the lack of proper planning by government especially with regards to water which is one of the most important necessities of life.
According to him “Government disbanded the three pumping machines that supplies water to metropolis from Ajiwa Dam in the name of upgrade, and instead of them to allow for new pumping machines to arrive before they disconnect the old ones, they didn’t.
“This is the root cause of the problem we are facing in Katsina, today. Because had it been government planned well by waiting for the new machines to arrive before disbanding the old ones, we wouldn’t have been undergoing this problem.
“Again, already government water works at Zobe Dam located in Dutsima has reached advanced stage although it has not started supplying water. As such, government would have waited for the Zobe Dam project to start pumping water to the Katsina metropolis and its environs before embarking on the upgrade of the Ajiwa Dam,” he added.
Speaking further, he said, what aggravated the severe water hardship is the fact that government did not provide any palliatives for citizens to fall back on.
According to him, another major problem that has made the water scarcity become so bad is that, when the state government invited Chinese engineers to upgrade the dam, instead of them to put in resources in the upgrade, they started building houses for the Chinese expatriates and most likely got their budget exhausted on that.
He went further to say, “Although recently, water tankers have been seeing moving around the metropolis and other places across the states to distribute water, it is not enough because of the teeming population that are in serious and urgent demand for water in the state,”
He also confided in this paper that some of the officials that are responsible for managing the water tankers are being involved in shady dealings, as they now sell water to residents which ordinarily is supposed to be distributed free.
GovernanceNews checks shows that residents of Ajiwa community for the past twenty-five years have long been depending on pipe borne water supply as their major source of water supply.
From Ajiwa to Katsina community is about 10km, there are different communities residing along the area who have been badly affected by the water crisis.
This is because they hardly dig wells or have any alternative source of power supply as a result of excess and availability of water due to the closeness of the Ajiwa Dam to them.
Background of the problem
GovernanceNews checks has revealed that prior to the 2015 general elections, Governor Aminu Bello Masari have promised to end all the incessant water crisis in three months having worked at the Katsina State Water Board for many years, where he rose from a junior staff to head the board.
However, the water situation has not improved, rather it has worsened off in the first four years of his administration.
Further checks by this paper showed that the administration of Masari had blamed the ugly situation on the previous administration of Shehu Shema who refuted expert’s advice to purchase the pumping machines in Germany, rather the former governor went to China to purchase substandard machines.
This according to the present administration has caused the current water problems bedeviling the state.
The state government however, explained that governor Aminu Masari is doing all it takes to ensure that the shortage supply of water to Katsina state is solved, finally.
“In order to arrest the situation from further escalation, the governor had travelled to Germany to get the pumping machines,” an official of Masari’s administration who was not authorized to speak to the press, has confirmed.