By Aplefe Ojong
The Cross River State Government has expressed it’s determination to provide portable water for the people of the state using World Health Organization (WHO) specifications and will prosecute customers of the state owned Water Board Limited who attempt to thwart this move through illegal connections and destruction of facilities.
The commissioner for water resources, Gabriel Odu-Oji, the chairman of the Cross River State Water Board Limited, Ekpo Okon and the managing director, Godwin Igile stated this Wednesday in Calabar during a press briefing to mark the 2017 World Water day where the trio also disclosed that the current administration has completed plans to generate and reticulate 180,000 cubic metres of water per day to urban and sub-urban areas in the state.
Odu who described the idea of celebrating water as “great” due to the role it plays in the human system said the state will soon begin the prosecution of those who are indebted to water board in the special revenue court in the state, and those who embark on illegal connection, destroying of water facilities and theft of water metres in the state.
He said the essence was to continue drumming home the usefulness of water and for it to be used in a sustainable manner with Okon pointing out that the need for prudent management of water for the interest of Man today, the future generation and other living things cannot be over-emphasized.
Okon said the board which is charged with providing clean portable water to Cross Riverians will continuously strive to achieve this goal without compromising WHO standards. He called on residents to ensure water reticulation infrastructure was protected and condemned the actions of unscrupulous elements he said were stealing water metres with three currently in Police custody over water metres theft.
He solicited support from the media to sensitize the public against such illegalities as they will be prosecuted if caught while Igile disclosed that the state is currently ranked number one in water provision.
Igile said the board is working assiduously to ensure it meets the NGN250million revenue target handed to it by the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade. He disclosed that the water projects started in six sub-urban areas of Itigidi, Ikom, Ogoja, Obudu, Obubra which is at 98.5% completion and Okpoma started by the previous administration have been completed.
He broke down the proposed 180,000 cubic metres of water for reticulation as follows; Calabar – 80,000 cubic metres, Ikom – 11,500 cubic metres, Akamkpa – 10,000 cubic metres, Obubra – 9,600 cubic metres, Ogoja – 8,000 cubic metres, Obudu – 6,000 cubic metres, Ugep – 6,000 cubic metres and Itigidi – 5,000 cubic metres.
Also, he blamed the dirt in the water supplied of recent on accumulated rusts in the water tanks due to the prolonged dry season which he said is new in Calabar and a drop in the water level of the Qua rivers which is the main source of obtaining water. However, he assured that efforts were been made to continuously supply water to WHO specifications.
Also, Igile who lamented that the expenses on power have increased from NGN9million to about NGN15million among other expenses warned customers to pay their water rates which he said is NGN150 per 1,000 litres of water as well as vandals to desist from such acts or face prosecution.
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