Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has condemned the level of pollution of the state’s water resources that has degraded its ecosystem over the years.
To this end, he charged the Ministry of Water Resources and other relevant stakeholders to come up with an action plan that would enable government achieve its agenda in harnessing its water resources.
Senator Diri gave the charge on Monday during this year’s World Water Day celebration with the theme: “Valuing Water” at the Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye Conference Centre in Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as noting that the statistics regarding the current water, sanitation and hygiene systems were far below expectation.
The governor assured that his administration would utilise resources at its disposal to improve access to potable water, sanitation and hygiene as part of efforts in promoting healthy lifestyles.
“Water is invaluable but we have abused it in Bayelsa. God endowed us with water resources and rather than respecting and protecting it, people are abusing our rivers through the operation of illegal refineries and other human activities that have destroyed our natural fauna.
“I call for an action plan that would enabe this government achieve its prosperity agenda. Our plan is to ensure we provide potable water across all our local government areas.”
The governor also inaugurated the state Council on Water Resources as well as set up an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
He chairs the WASH Committee while the Water Resources Commissioner is chairman of the Council on Water Resources.
In his address, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Wariebi Kemebradikumo, said the government has restored water supply in parts of the state capital like Ovom as well as approved the operation and calibration of the 450 cubic metre per day Ovom waterworks, the 1,500 cubic metre per day Okaka main waterworks and 3,600 cubic metre per day Otuoke regional waterworks.
Kemebradikumo also said the Yenagoa reticulation was receiving attention and would soon be replaced.
In his presentation, Director of Corporate Support Services, Engr Sunday Idowu, who represented Engr U.B. Magashi, Executive Director in the Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, described water as a precious asset central to the basic needs of life.
He also identified some challenges in water development and management in the country, which include lack of political will, pollution of water resources and climate change.