Bauchi Making Progress In Providing Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation – Governor Abubakar
By Yahaya Audu, Bauchi
Bauchi State government is said to be making progress in the provision of safe, clean drinking water and access to sanitation in the state.
Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar disclosed this weekend at a Village Level Operation and Maintenance (VLOM) conference organised Tulsi-Chanrai Foundation ( TCF) with support from the United Nations Childrens Fund ( UNICEF) .
Represented by the Bauchi State Head of Civil Service, Alhaji Liman Bello, the governor said that his administration is aware of the challenges of maintaining water facilities in rural communities where such facilities are always seen as belonging to the government and it is solely responsible for their maintenance.
“We as government are therefore seriously concerned when facilities that require amounts of less than Five Thousand Naira to fix are left dysfunctional for periods of months and sometimes years,”he said.
He said that since 2015, the state government has increased budgetary allocation to the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector particularly the rural sub-sector reforms.
“It is on record that from 2015 to date, 920 hand pump fitted boreholes have been constructed, 1,766 existing dysfunctional hand pumps fitted boreholes have been rehabilitated, 7 Solar powered schemes have been constructed, 120 Solar Powered Schemes have been rehabilitated.
“Meanwhile, under sanitation, 280 blocks of Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines have been constructed in 140 schools and health centers and 2,804 communities have been certified Open Defaecation Free (ODF) with one whole LGA, Dass having been declared ODF. The first one out of the 70 LGAs in the 6 DFID/UNICEF supported SHAWN Project states and the second out of the 774 LGAs in the country,”he said.
Speaking, permanent secretary, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Engineer Garba Babaji Magaji lamented that unless communities are made to take ownership and management of their water facilities, access to safe water which stood at 48% will contnue to be low.
“The simple reason for this is that communities view facilities provided as government property to be used until they breakdown and then abandoned waiting for government or whoever provided them in the first place, to come back and repair them, with experts concluding that only 50% of existing facilities remain functional at any giving point in time,”he said.
According to him, VLOM was established in Bauchi State in 2012 under the SHAWN project when UNICEF engaged TCF to rehabilitate non functional existing facilities and train WASHCOMS ON VLOM in communities and local government areas.
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