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10 ways to increase access to safe drinking water and safe sanitation In Osun State

Memo to His Excellency, the Osun State Governor,Rauf Aregbesola

By Babatope Babalobi

1.       Provide Energy

  • Support Osun State Water Corporation to develop alternative/independent Power supply (IPP) for their waterworks/water schemes. Epileptic energy supply is their No 1 problem.
  • Support state to finance the development of small scale hydro power projects/gas turbines. The nearby river courses  should be dammed for the generation of 5-20 MWs of power which will power the water works.

2.        Fight Corruption.

  • There are about newly commissioned 30 mini water schemes and most of them are said not to be functional.
  • Monitor the procurement of chemicals for the urban water schemes as it has become a conduit pipe for siphoning of funds.
  • Direct all Water practitioners  and sector bodies to adopt the principles and practices  of the Water Integrity Network- a global movement promoting accountability, transparency and accountability in the awards of contracts, procurement, payment of water bills by consumers etc

3.       Reform the sector.

  • Support the European Union Water Supply and Sanitation Reform Programme in the state to implement water sector reform programmes encompassing Policy, Regulatory and Legal frameworks
  • Implement the new Water Supply and Sanitation Policy
  • Encourage the Development of  a State wide Water Supply and Sanitation law,
  • Set up a Water Supply and Sanitation Regulatory Commission, Create a Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Agency
  • Get all LGAs to create Depts. of Water supply and Sanitation and allocate funds to implement projects.
  • Also Medium Term Sector Strategies and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (including an Investment Plan) should be developed at the State level

4. Transform the OSWC

  • Osun State Water Corporation into a Corporatised utility operating as a Commercial body. The Water Corporation should be taken away from the Civil Service and managed as Independent, autonomous body.
  • The management should be recruited on time based contract and given performance targets.
  • Tariffs should in the minimum cover operation and maintenance costs.

5. Prioritise  Water Supply and Sanitation.

  • Prioritise Water Supply and push more funds to the sector.
  • Declare a National Emergency in the Sector and state your government commitment to make access to 30 litres of safe water per day, within 250 metres a right of every Nigerian.
  • Declare access to safe water a human right.

6. Introduce Household Water Treatment

  • In rural areas, Household water treatment should be encouraged and popularised to ensure point of use water treatment. Low costs Technologies for Household water treatment that can be promoted include filtration and boiling.
  • Launch a State widevCampaign for Household water treatment to prevent future preventable deaths through water borne diseases- guinea worn, cholera etc

7. Promote Good Water Governance

  • Direct all communities in the state to establish a Water Supply and Sanitation Committee (WASHCOMs), and all Small Towns in Nigeria to establish Water Consumer Associations (WCAs). All Community Development Associations/Town Unions in Urban areas to establish Water Committees. These will serve as platforms for improved water governance as well as mobilise communities to part finance water and sanitation projects.

8.       Promote Rain Water Harvesting.

  • Create awareness of Rain Water Harvesting and its techniques- this will ensure all year round availability of water where there is scarcity and seasonal variability of rainfall.

9. Promote safe sanitation practices.

  • Partner with the private sector to provide Public toilets in markets, bus stops, and open places
  • Direct all schools to set up School health clubs.
  • Encourage Community led Total Sanitation
  • Promote Hand washing campaigns

10. Appoint Technocrats/professionals not politicians to manage the sector.

Water resources management is technical sector that should not be left in the hands of politicians. Water supply is also a good business that should be run profitably while delivery efficient service to the people at affordable price. The Board of the Water Utilities must be managed by professionals not politicians.

Babatope Babalobi is a Water Supply Sanitation Expert and a Consultant to Federal Ministry of Water Resources, several State Governments and External Support Agencies including the European Union and World Bank on Water Supply and Sanitation issues

Babalobi@yahoo.com 08035897435