The water challenges in Enugu State (Metropolis and Rural) have been of great concern to stakeholders and Enugu residents.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, there was an increased need to ensure everyone, everywhere have adequate access to water for drinking and regular handwashing, without compromising on any of the necessity.
In a country where over 152 million people do not have access to safely managed water services, the need for a pragmatic shift in water supply became pertinent and inevitable, so as to reduce the spread of corona virus. In response to the pandemic, the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Water resources, awarded a total number of 187 contracts for construction and rehabilitation of 479 water supply schemes in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. The projects, which were awarded in 2020, are expected to be completed before the end of the year.
In Enugu State, ten water supply projects cutting across nine Local Government Areas (LGAs) were awarded to five Contractors. The projects include five new solar-powered borehole and rehabilitation of five existing boreholes at strategic locations within the LGAs.
Considering the importance of health workers as front-line workers in the fight against COVID-19, it was relieving to have health centres included as part of the beneficiaries of the Federal Government WASH Palliatives in Enugu State. One of such Health Centres is Hilltop Health Centre, Ngwo, in Enugu North LGA, Enugu State, where a new solar-powered borehole was approved to be constructed by Ayolex Investment Limited.
In the quest to track the execution of these projects, which are meant to be “WASH palliatives”, the #ClaimYourWaterRights team in Enugu State, comprising 11 Youth-led Civil Society Organizations and led by Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation, embarked on a monitoring exercise to Hilltop Health Centre and other project locations across Enugu State.
During the monitoring visit carried out on 20th December 2020, the team observed the construction of a toilet facility by Interactive Consultant Limited, despite the existence of toilet facility in the Health Centre. When quizzed about the ongoing project, the Health Centre Management could not confirm the reason for the construction of another toilet facility in the Health Centre, as they were not informed or carried along in the process. The Management confirmed they would rather have a sustainable water supply facility than have another toilet facility that they can’t maintain due to lack of water supply. All efforts to reach the Contractor responsible for the construction of the Water Supply Facility, proved abortive.
Another scheduled visit to the Health Centre on 28 January 2021, the Claim-Your-Water-Rights team confirmed that there was still no water supply facility been constructed at the Health Centre but the toilet facility has been completed. The team reached out the Key Principal of Interactive Consultant Limited, who confirmed that they are only responsible for construction of the toilet facility, but not borehole facility, which was awarded to a different contractor.