In this report, MSUE AZA, takes a look at feelings and mode of Zaria residents who suffered water scarcity for over 40 years until recently relief comes their way.
Many residents with tears of joy on their faces narrated how they were coping with the pathetic situation for decades. Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s administration however wiped their sorrow with the commissioning of the 150 million litres per day water treatment plant of the Zaria Water Project.
Until now, the ancient city Zaria and environs have been experiencing acute shortage of water supply for several decades.
According to experts,one of the reasons for scarcity of potable water in Zaria Metropolis was due to inadequate capacity of existing Water treatment plants and storage reservoirs to meet the water demand of the expanding population, compounded by the old age and obsolescence of the transmission and distribution pipework.
Observers revealed that,the water supply to the Zaria and its environs had been from two water works with a combined capacity of 60 million litres per day (mld).
They further opined that,the Zaria Old water works, which was built in 1939, has an installed capacity of 10 million per day (mld) which had not been producing due to a failed weir, while the Zaria ‘new’ water works was built in 1975 and has an installed capacity of 50 million litres per day and was operating below this capacity largely due to inadequate and persistent power outages and ageing of some equipment.
It noticed that,the present water demand for Zaria and immediate environs is estimated at 140 million litres per day (mld) which cannot be met by the two existing water treatment plants.
Experts predicted that, the future water demand of the Zaria city by year 2025 is put at over 220 million litres per day (MLD), while the present service coverage is put at less than 40% of the population.
Some of the residents who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday after the commissioning of the 150 MLD Water treatment plant of the Zaria Water Project;recently prayed not to witness water scarcity in the area again.
Usman Ahmed, a resident of Gyellesu,Zaria,said:” We didn’t think there will be water in Zaria because many of our leaders promised but failed to deliver the water Project. The tears of pains turned to joy now. At least there will be water. We have suffered too long in Zaria”
A student of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), John Adeke, who resides off campus near Congo campus, confirmed that there is really fresh air in their area following the launched of Zaria Water plant:” I am in my 300 level now,since I came here water remains our problem. We patronised water vendors for our domestic use. At a point water was oil Wells in Zaria,but thank God Kaduna State government under governor Nasir El-Rufai has brought water to the people of Zaria. As a student we used our little pocket money to buy water”
Another resident of Samaru Zaria, Ibrahim Sule, said the returned of water in the city will boost the economic activities: ” Our prayers have been answered. The water will improve the economic activities in Zaria. Many businesses have suffered due to water scarcity as many cannot afford to be buying it everyday. How much are they making in a day? We commend Governor Nasir El-Rufai for coming to our aid.” he stressed.
During the commissioning of Zaria Water treatment plant, governor Nasir El-Rufai, explained that the importance of the project to the people of Zaria metropolis and environs is very fundamental saying Kaduna State Government is highly committed to overcoming the acute water shortage through the provision of a new infrastructure requiring significant capital outlays over the next few years.
El-rufai, said the commissioning of Zaria water treatment plant signaled the end of long sufferings of the residents,urging them to pay water bills to compliment the government gesture.
The governor said:”It is my honour and pleasure to welcome you all to the historic city of Zaria. We give praise and thanks to Allah (SWT) for bringing us safely to this important commissioning of the 150 million litres per day (150MLD) Zaria Water Treatment Plant. This is one of several components of the Zaria Water Supply and Sanitation Project, that is financed by the Kaduna State Government, in our effort to meet the increasing demands for water supply services by a rapidly growing population. The Federal Government of Nigeria, the Islamic Development Bank and the Africa Development Bank are other key collaborators and financiers of the other components.”
” Permit me to appreciate the presence at this event of former Vice President Namadi Sambo, whose government initiated this project in 2008. Our APC government invited a former PDP governor and Vice President to recognize his singular foresight in initiating this project and working hard to acquire the commitments of international financial institutions to collaborate with the state government to deliver the project.”
“Our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari admonishes us always to prioritize governance over politics, and always regard government as a continuum, and that it is the obligation of every APC team to assess its inherited projects with criteria that enable it to implement the most critical, value-adding projects, to benefit ordinary people and businesses. That is what we did with Zaria Water Project, and that is why we specially invited former Vice President Namadi Sambo to this commissioning event.”
El-Rufai explained further:”During the campaigning for the 2015 general elections, we identified completion of the Zaria Water project as a priority and we promised that we shall break the jinx that had delayed the project and led to its apparent abandonment by the contractors.
We spent the transition period to study and identify what the binding constraints militating against accelerated completion of the project were and started planning debottlenecking them. Shortly after we took office, we met with the consultants, contractors and project management team and agreed on a viable way forward.”
” We agreed on a programme to settle the N3.8bn debt owed the contractors, provided immediate funding to open letters of credit for key components and got the contractors to resume work on site. We amortised the arrears by paying the contractors N300m monthly, until we liquidated the inherited debt of the previous three years within a year.
The construction of this new 150mld Zaria Water Treatment Plant being commissioned today was therefore funded 100% by the Kaduna State Government.”
“The Contract for construction was awarded to Mothercat Nigeria Limited on 23rd September 2008, at a Contract Price of N15.711 billion, which was revised to N24.697 billion due to increase in the scope of Works, delay in execution of works arising mainly from design changes, late provision of construction drawings and exchange rate fluctuations.
This water treatment plant is an important component of the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project that the Kaduna State Government is executing with the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank. The Federal Government of Nigeria constructed the 186.1 million cubic meter (MCM) multipurpose Galma Dam at Kuzuntu through the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority. This dam provides the raw water for the old and new treatment plants and for irrigation activities”
“Ten service reservoirs, two booster stations and 73 km of pipeline transmission mains are being constructed with a concessional credit facility from the Islamic Development Bank of Jeddah. Rehabilitation of 62KM of transmission expansion, 408KM of distribution pipelines and provision of sanitation facilities are being financed with a concessional credit facility from the African Development Bank based in Abidjan.”
“This water treatment plant has already improved water supply in Zaria and Sabon-Gari Local Governments. Our government will now concentrate on the design, financing, engineering, procurement and construction of the transmission and distribution infrastructure required to supply the treated water from this plants to all the other six local government areas covered by the project as soon as possible.”
The governor added:” Overall, the Zaria Water project will improve public health and standards of living in Zaria Metropolis and surroundings as well as improve the investment and operational environment for industrial and commercial activities. This will enhance opportunities for job creation, improved livelihood and poverty alleviation. These goals align with the programmes of our government and the pledge our great party, the APC, made to the people of Kaduna State.”
“At this point, l wish to assure the citizens of our State that the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project is like a pilot for the Kaduna State Water Supply Expansion Programme. Our Government is committed to full implementation of this programme in all the urban and rural areas of the State. To ensure the success of this programme, the State Government has developed and is judiciously implementing the Kaduna State Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme requiring focused collaboration with all tiers of government.”
“We call on the people of Zaria and environs and Kaduna State in general, to support this laudable reform programme and ensure judicious use and protection of these facilities. Government appeals to the consumers of potable water to promptly settle their bills to enable the State Water Corporation to adequately operate and maintain the facilities for sustainable water supply and sanitation”
On his part while commissioning the project,the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the All Progressives Congress(APC) national chairman,Chief John Oyegun, described governor El-Rufai as one of the most visionary APC governor.
Osinbajo, said governor El-Rufai has done what People’s Democratic Party (PDP) failed to do to the people of Zaria and Kaduna State in the last sixteen years while in power.
According to him:”my appeal is that let’s your support to Governor Nasir El-Rufai be permanent and massive,let your support and prayers for president Muhammadu Buhari be permanent and massive. The governor cares for you and APC cares for you”
Osinbajo,noted: “Today’s event signifies that the APC means business. This was a project the PDP failed to do in sixteen years when they were in power.”
“But today we are here to witness the commissioning of the water project completed by one of our most visionary governor.”
Also speaking, former Vice President, Namadi Sambo,commended the state governor for completing the project he initiated in 2008 when he was Governor of Kaduna State.
Sambo said, he was not surprised because the governor whom he knew 40 years ago: “Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is a development governor. Once he sets himself on something he finishes it”.
The Emir of Zauzzau , Alhaji Shehu Idris, said the completion of the Zaria water project by the administration of Governor el-rufai was a dream come true.
Idris recalled how 40 years ago, a former president asked him to tell him what he wanted the government to do in his emirate since he has only two months to leave office :”It is my dream to see this becoming a reality. The problem of water problem in Zaria has ringered so long. Unfortunately,there is shortage of water in Zaria. We thank our governor for making this dream comes true. The people of Zauzzau and the entire people of Kaduna State will continue to support this administration” the Emir said.