News Analysis:Finding Lasting Solutions to Scarcity of Potable Water in Kogi.

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By Dada Ahmed

The vision of an average citizen of Kogi State, especially those residing in Lokoja, the state capital, is that one day, they will have a state where potable water flows abundantly in their homes. Their children will be in school instead of traversing the nooks and crannies, looking for clean water to meet their basic needs.

However, for now, this vision remains utopian as the citizens and other residents of the state cope with water scarcity, particularly in Lokoja.

It is important to note that Kogi State, lying in the heart of Nigeria and blessed with rich culture and natural resources, has been facing water challenges for a long time, even when it was part of Kwara and Benue States until 1991. Many residents express frustration that despite its beauty, Kogi State has been experiencing persistent water scarcity, considered by water management experts as a profound challenge.

Residents in Lokoja regret that for the past two years, they have been struggling to cope with the stark reality of inadequate water supply, which significantly affects their health, economy, and overall quality of life.

The immediate cause of the current scarcity of potable water in the state capital is the 2022 flood that submerged equipment at the Greater Lokoja Water Works, which halted the supply of water to most parts of the state capital.

On a larger scale, experts on water resources believe that the problem has a geographical dimension. Kogi has diverse topography, which presents challenges for water distribution. While the state’s rivers and tributaries are abundant, they often fail to meet the needs of the scattered rural population. Seasonal variations further exacerbate the situation, with dry spells leading to acute shortages.

There is also the issue of infrastructure. The infrastructure at the Old Lokoja Water Works urgently needs rehabilitation to operate at full capacity and meet the challenges posed by a rising population with increased demand for water. This problem became noticeable when the Greater Lokoja Water Works, which supplied water to Lokoja metropolis, succumbed to the devastating flood of 2022. Findings reveal that before the flood, there were already leaky pipes and inefficient distribution systems, resulting in significant water loss before it even reached consumers.

Water scarcity in Kogi has negatively impacted residents’ health. The lack of clean water hampers hygiene practices, thus exacerbating public health challenges such as waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid.

**Economic Consequences**
Water scarcity has far-reaching social and economic consequences. Residents express concern that businesses such as restaurants and car wash outfits, which depend on water supply, are adversely affected, impacting livelihoods.

As Kogi residents wait for the day their dream of clean and abundant water supply will be a reality, the state government is actively seeking solutions.
In an interaction with journalists in Lokoja, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Engr. Yahaya MD Farouk, disclosed that Governor Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo has approved and funded the rehabilitation of the Old Lokoja Water Works.

This is intended to enable the plant to supply water to some areas of the state capital, pending the completion of repairs at the Greater Lokoja Water Works.

Engr. Farouk mentioned that the state government is taking pragmatic steps to replace equipment submerged at the Greater Lokoja Water Works, though this will take at least 12 months to complete. He emphasized the administration’s commitment to addressing the water scarcity and appealed to residents for patience, assuring them that efforts are being made to resolve the issue.

Technologists have drawn the attention of the state to the relevance of technological innovations in solving the water challenge.

Experts suggest that adopting modern technologies could revolutionize water management in the state.

They recommend solar-powered boreholes, water purification systems, and smart irrigation techniques as viable solutions that could enhance water availability and quality in the state.

Engr. Michael Abdulrahman urged the state government to incorporate these technologies into its current efforts to restore the Greater Lokoja Water Works to normal and enhanced capacity to serve the public effectively.
Community efforts are crucial in finding lasting solutions to the water scarcity problem. By this patriotic efforts grassroots projects, often supported by NGOs, make strides in rainwater harvesting and constructing local water storage facilities. These initiatives empower residents to take control of their water needs and significantly supplement government efforts.

By and large, we must shy away from the fact that efforts aimed at finding lasting solutions to water scarcity in Kogi State require a holistic approach, combining government action, technological innovation, community efforts, and sustainable practices.

The political will demonstrated by Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo, coupled with the collaboration of other stakeholders, remain essential in this regard. Residents, therefore, hope that with the commitment of the state government and collaboration from all stakeholders, they can look forward to a future where clean and reliable water will be accessible to all in Kogi State.
Dada Ahmed,a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, publishes The Reporters.

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