Home Government MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING BY THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER, MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, SIR OKENMOR FIDELIS TILIJE

MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING BY THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER, MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, SIR OKENMOR FIDELIS TILIJE

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Gentlemen,
It is with great delight that I welcome you to this press briefing aimed at highlighting the activities of the Ministry of Water Resources Development since the inception of the administration of His Excellency, Sen (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa in May 2015.

BRIEF BACKGROUND
The Ministry of Water Resources Development (MWRD) was created on 27th March 2001 and charged with the mandate for delivery of potable water and sanitation services in Delta State with oversight supervisory functions of its Parastatals and all other bodies in the water sector namely:
i. Delta State Urban Water Board(DSUWB) created in 1997,
ii. Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) also created in 1997,
iii. Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (STOWASSA) created in 2012.

PROGRAMMES/ACHIEVEMENTS

1. CHANGE OF PSYCH
As a support strategy for the actualization of the SMART Agenda, the Ministry today is advocating and sensitizing our people to see WATER as an economic good and clearly no longer as a social good. The intention of this change of psych is to stimulate increased investments and funding, as well as grants from Donor Nations and Agencies, into the Water Sector of the State by making Investments in the Water Industry more attractive to Private Sector Investors. Furthermore, we are establishing a Water Consumer Association in all the Communities where Water Schemes/Assets are located. Our hope is that these associations will help manage and secure all Water Assets in their localities. The stimulation, promotion of market principles and encouragement of Private Sector Investments in the innovative solutions for providing portable Water, Healthy Sanitation and Hygiene formulations in the State will certainly create wealth through increased employment opportunities to our people.

2. STATEWIDE REHABILITATION PROGRAMME
The State Executive Council in September, 2015, approved the rehabilitation of One Hundred (100) water supply schemes spread across various parts of the State at a total cost of N333,715,379.14 (Three Hundred andThirty-two Million, Seven Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy-nine Naira, Fourteen Kobo). Of this lot, about 98% of the exercise has been completed and water supply has been restored in these benefiting communities.

These rehabilitation works created basic human needs for Deltans with regards to the supply of potable water. And also temporary jobs were created directly/indirectly in line with His Excellency’s agenda of job creation for all Deltans.

3. WATER AND SANITATION EXECUTIVE BILL
We now have in place a Delta State Water and Sanitation Policy Document. The State’s Executive Water and Sanitation bill is being transmitted to the House of Assembly. This will be the first Water Policy and Water law since the establishment of Delta State. The main aim of the Delta State Water/ Sanitation policy and the proposed Water Law is to domesticate relevant provisions of the National Water and Sanitation Policy and to establish a comprehensive platform for the coordination of the implementation of Water Projects.

It is not an operational plan but it will provide a guide and direction in institutional, economic and legal reforms that will lead to improved Water governance at all levels across the State through established processes for the management of Water Resources in an integrated manner and will define roles of all Stakeholders in the provision of portable water and Sanitation services delivery in the State.

Accordingly, and in support of the SMART Agenda, the Water Policy and Law will promote a rancor free and conducive peaceful environment for Institutional, economic and legal reforms, particularly in the harmonization of the future efforts of various interventions in the provision of portable water in the State by NDDC, DESOPADEC, OIL companies, Individuals etc. For instance, while there are no presence of any water Scheme in some villages/communities, some communities have four Schemes, by Government, NDDC, DESOPADEC and Oil Companies. Painfully, the four of them may not be functional at all. Now, when the Water Law is enacted, all sources of interventions and efforts in the Water Sector will be peacefully and harmoniously administered in an integrated manner for the benefit of the people. The provision of a strategic framework for the design and sustainable implementation of integrated interventions in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services delivery in the State by the Ministry after the enactment of the Water Law will stimulate increased Private Investments and Funding, as well as GRANTS from Donor Nations and Agencies, into the Water Sector of the State.

4. WARRI EFFURUN WATER SCHEME
The Warri-Effurun Water Supply Project which occupies a land area of about 15 (fifteen) hectares, and inherited from the defunct Bendel State commenced in 1993 with a US$70M ADB Loan. This project has witnessed on and off circles and has painfully not been commissioned till date, even though the State Government has spent over N19 Billion (Nineteen Billion Naira) to date and from projections will spend additional N13Billion to complete the water scheme.

However, because of current general paucity of funds, the State Government has opted to complete this project through a private public partnership.

The State Executive Council under the Chairmanship of His Excellency the Governor, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa has approved the concession of the Warri Effurun Water Scheme through a Public Private Partnership. On completion of full construction within the projected 18months period, Public, Economic and Portable Water will be reticulated and connected to 15,500 (Fifteen thousand five hundred) households for 24/7/365 days at a very affordable rate and indeed cheaper than the price of the current Sachet water on public display within the Warri Effurun catchment area. The Water source for the Warri Effurun environ will be portable, safe and drinkable direct from home taps because it will be perfectly treated before distribution. This singular decision by the Okowa Administration will create wealth and so many employment opportunities for Deltans. Lets I forget, water connection and distribution to homes will be done by prepaid rechargeable water meter cards just like you recharge your mobile phones.

We have projected that the Private Investor will invest a total sum of about N13billion (Thirteen billion naira) to bring this project to completion. The benefits of this arrangement which will be for 12 (twelve) years include, production of 68,000 cubic meters of water per day and will provide over 500 jobs and royalties to Government. One very vital issue in the SMART Agenda is the provision of improved health environment and facilities. Clearly the provision of increased portable drinking water for our people will directly cause reduction in the incidence of water-related diseases and its attendant hospital bills in the State.

5. QUALITY OF WATER FROM WATER SOURCES IN DELTA STATE
In the period under review, the State Government through the Ministry of Water Resources entered into agreement with a private firm, Emani Global Network Ltd to carry out a State wide testing and analysis of water quality produced by various water sources, including private and commercial boreholes currently existing in the State with a view to ensuring that they meet minimum required WHO standards. The essence of the exercise is to enlighten Deltans and reduce incidence of water borne diseases in the State. As much as possible we shall henceforth resist the location of boreholes close to septic tanks, grave sides, fuel dumps etc.

6. PARTNERSHIP WITH EUROPEAN UNION AND UNICEF
The Ministry is currently engaged in a Public Private Partnership Programme with the European Union, and Unicef under the aegis of Niger Delta Support Programme (NDSP), initiative built on the World Bank proposal which is elaborated on the various Federal and State Government development reform plans. In this programme, a total of £65,800,000.00 is budgeted for the five participating Niger Delta States. For Delta state, through a self selection process, two local government areas; Isoko South and Ndokwa West emerged as initial beneficiary of the programme.

The water supply project and Sanitation component of the NDSP in Delta is estimated at a costs of 13.16million Euro (N2,895,200,000.00 @N220 per Euro). Out of this total expenditure, the State Government is expected to contribute 30%, which is N404,800,000.00 (Four hundred and four million eight hundred thousand naira). Despite the paucity of fund being experienced, His Excellency approved and released the entire sum of N404.80million to ensure6t the success of the programme which is currently ongoing.

7. ALADJA WATER BORNE DISEASE OUTBREAK
An outbreak of suspected water borne disease at Aladja community near Warri was reported on Friday 30th July, 2015. His Excellency directed the Ministry of Health to meet immediately with the Ministry of Water Resources and quickly arrange containment. We met with health and resolved to speedily provide alternative source of water supply since the community was solely relying on stream water, which indeed is suspected to be the source of the water borne disease. unfortunately, the Urban water scheme in Aladja was not functional. Apart from the higher cost of reactivating the scheme, time was of essence. Accordingly, we decided to quickly sink some surface boreholes. Our Warri Zonal Office was then directed and mobilized. At a meeting with the town union executives, the town union advised that if Government will be sinking boreholes, it should be one per quarter. On consideration of the advise, the drilling of eleven (11) boreholes one each for the eleven (11) quarters at the total cost of N3.5m (Three million five hundred thousand naira) was agreed. These boreholes became available for use Monday 3rd August, 2015, barely three days later. We had earlier that Friday evening delievered 281 packets containing 67,440 sachets of water purifiers to the primary Healthcare Centre at Aladja for onward distribution to the populace as first Government palliative response. Each sachet can purify 10 litres of water. This is the sort of speed response in Sen Dr. Okowa’s government that requires emphasis

8. CONCLUSION
Finally it is very expensive to deliver portable and safe water to individual homes everywhere in the world. However, the reticulation of Water to homes will create alternative source of funding for the Ministry and also reduce the time ordinarily utilized by people in searching for water from outside home sources. The negative impact in health, time, risks, agony, etc on the people for searching for water outside homes cannot be overemphasized. Accordingly, my Ministry’s vision is to lay a very strong foundation towards stopping this ugly, undeveloped hectic human activity imposed on our people by life in Africa. This is a tall order but I am told that a journey of one thousand miles starts with one step.

We are laying a strong foundation for improved delivery of portable and safe water, not to stand points on the streets of Delta through deployment and distribution of untreated water from bore holes but from the deployment and distribution of treated, portable and safe water direct to homes through Regional Water Schemes that will stand the text of time and as well, create wealth, health and provide employment opportunities for our people.

Many thanks for giving us this opportunity to inform our people about what we are doing in the Ministry of Water Resources Development and indeed our intention

Thank you for your attention and God bless.

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