Despite being surrounded by water, many residents of Bwari Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have decried lack of potable water in their areas.
The residents say, it is ironic, that Usuma dam, the main source of water supply within FCT and its environs, is located in their domain, yet they do not have water to drink.
To them, it is a case of; “Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink”- a famous rime, in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, the residents decried the lack of potable water in most communities in the area council.
Mr John Awoyi, leader of Bwari Youths Forum, said communities in the area council including Igu, Kawu, Gaba and Zuma villages lack access to water supply and they depend on rains, dirty water from streams for drinking and domestic use.
“Although some areas have boreholes, they are either bad or insufficient to serve a large community.
“Our healthcare facilities are not left out from this challenge, most of the primary health centres in our communities do not have potable water
“We urgently need the attention of government at all levels, including Non-Governmental Organisations that can render assistance,’’ he said.
Mrs Martha Kuchibuyi, a resident of SCC road, Bwari town, told NAN that access to portable water had always been a challenge in the area.
Kuchibuyi, who said she had lived with her family in the area for over twenty years, said she had not enjoyed much of electricity and water supply during her stay in the area.
“I live in my personal house and used to have a borehole until the pumping machine was stolen three years ago.
“We now fetch water from my neighbour’s borehole, but we do not even get constant power supply to pump it.
“When it is functional, the water is sometimes dirty and the queue is exhausting,” she said.
Kuchibuyi said the alternative was to buy from water vendor -Mairuwa- at exorbitant rate, even when they could not trust the source of the supply.
She called on all relevant stakeholders to work expeditiously towards connecting the supply from Usuma Dam to communities in the area council.
Similarly, another resident, Mr Joseph Busason, an aide at the Ushafa Chief’s palace, told NAN that his community host the Usuma dam in the FCT, yet residents of the area buy water from water vendors.
According to Busason, most communities in Bwari area council were not connected to water source of the FCT Water Board.
He said the few communities connected to the source, were not getting constant water supply.
“Accessing potable water in this area council comes with great difficulty, as some people spend about N2000 daily purchasing water from the local water vendors.
“We are calling on relevant authorities in FCT Administration to look into this difficulty we are facing,” he said
The Chairman, Bwari Area Council, Mr John Gabaya, acknowledged the challenge of potable water in the council
To mitigate the hardship of residents in this regard, Gabaya said the Council, in 2023, provided solar borehole water scheme to some primary healthcare centres in the district.
While presenting the 2024 appropriation of the Council, the Chairman said they would replicate the project in more communities.
Meanwhile, an official of the FCT Water Board has given reason why the Bwari area council, though, hosting the Usuma dam, did not have access to potable water from the source.
The official who pleaded anonymity because of no permission to speak on the issue, explained that the tap water being supplied to the FCT was being done by gravity because of the high topography where the dam is situated.
The official said, unfortunately, most communities in Bwari area council were located in higher topography to the dam, thereby defying pressure from the water gravity.
According to the official, for communities in Bwari to access potable water, the Water Board has to use generator to pump water to the area.
The official noted that going through the stress had affected the consistency of water supply in the area.