By Archibong Jeremiah/Uduak Pepple
Investigation by CrossRiverWatch has revealed that the Cross River State Water Board Limited, CRSWBL which is the only company handling water supply in the state has not supplied water to Calabar metropolis for over month.
Several complaints by residents of the state capital had caused CrossRiverWatch reporters to go round the town to find out the situation of water supply which has deteriorated seriously since the start of election campaigns.
Residents did not minced words in expressing the many challenges the water shortage is posing and called on government to ensure that supply is urgently restored.
Our first point of call was the State Ministry of Water Resources where no official was willing to talk to us. However, we reliably gathered from a senior official of the ministry who did not want to be named that the reason the state water board has not been able to supply water is as a result of lack of funds to purchase chemicals used in treating water. “until these chemicals are bought we are not sure if there will be water supply in the state.”
Water without a doubt is requisite for living but when there is shortage in its supply it makes living unbearable because many things needed to be done for daily existence won’t be achieved.
A hair dressing salon owner named Comfort along Mount Zion axis Calabar South expressed dissatisfaction about the development as it has added more responsibilities on her to go search for water from borehole vendors which is nowhere close.
A student of the University of Calabar, UNICAL who stays at Orok-Orok Calabar who pleaded anonymity stated unequivocally that the government has failed in her primary responsibility of meeting the basic needs of the people and has been defeated in that regard as she revealed that she has to wake up very early everyday to search for water as a result of a very long queues in the few places where borehole vendors are selling.
Mr. Ekuri who is a landlord in Calabar said he is disgruntled with the Cross River State Water Board Limited that despite the fact that they are not making use of their water they are still bringing enormous bills to them.
A youth corper residing at Akai Efa road who refused to be named for fear of victimization said “No be small suffer ooo, I get to go fetch water from outside my house, Calabar is too poor. Calabar wahala, how can just one sector control the whole of water supply in a state, this is rubbish, it’s not like that in my place Delta state.”
A food vendor at Heart Street Calabar, Rebecca Orji said, “The water problem is getting out of hand, we the food vendors suffer a lot when there is no constant water supply because we cook in large quantity varieties of food. Apart from now that they have seized water for some time for reasons best known to them, even when there is water we in this area hardly get steady supply but bills come first.”
Mr. Ernest Itwen, a car wash operator at Mary Slessor road told our reporter that the state water board is not helping matters at all because for him in the car wash industry water is everything but because of the poor water supply he is forced to patronize private borehole owners whose water price is high. He added that, “Government in its wisdom should have ensured that our water and light are steady if they want business to thrive.”
On the whole the general feelings of business operators and others was that of dissatisfaction from the government especially those that requires water for it operation. Generally, they called on the state government to urgently come to their aid as it is exploitative to pay exorbitant bills for a service not rendered.
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