‘Water Regulatory Commission Ready, Soon’

  • Mon, 21 May 2012 11:42:30 -0500 - Nigerian Tide
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The authorities in the Rivers State
Ministry of Water and Rural Development, have commenced plans to establish a
new Water Regulatory Commission to oversee all activities in the management and
distribution of water.

Commssioner for Water Resources and Rural
Development, Ms. Patricia Simon-Hart, who made the plans public over the
weekend while speaking in a media interactive forum organised by Silverbird
Communications, over the weekend in Port Harcourt, said the measure formed part
of the new State Water and Sanitation Bill.

She explained that water regulation and
extraction were in the exclusive list, but argued that the state government had
a role to play in the distribution and management of water resources, hence,
the new plan to overhaul the state water corporation for efficiency.

Speaking on the new Water and Sanitation
Bill, Ms. Simon-Hart explained that a new legal framework had become imperative
as the government plans to overhaul the state water corporation.

Besides, she stated that the new law would
encourage public/private partnership(PPP) in water provision, as the current
comatose condition of the state water corporation could not be fully
transformed without an enabling law to ensure sustainability.

She lamented that the state water provision
and distribution had been run down over the years due to long years of neglect,
ageing of the pipe networks and damage of pipes from construction works. ‘’We
are working to resuscitate our water schemes, and we need a lot of funding. It
cannot be done overnight,’’ she remarked.

Ms. Simon-Hart while suing for patience
from the citizenry, said already, the present administration had concluded
design and plan for a new water scheme in the state, which she said would
involve the establishment of regional water boards to reduce stress and
pressure on resources.

The water resources commissioner stated
that the new regional water schemes were designed to address the rural water
demand, stressing that building water schemes in each local government area
would entail huge resources and lead to waste if not well managed.

She explained that the regional water works
would help distribute water in local areas and reduce the stress of
maintenance.

Currently, she disclosed that the ministry
had begun plans to overhaul over 250 kilometres of water trunk line in Port
Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.

She further stated that the State
Government was also addressing water provision problems in areas affected by
the United Nations Environmental Protection(UNEP) Reports covering Eleme,
Gokana, and Okrika through daily water tanker supply in the mean time.

Ms Simon-Hart however argued that for the
state water provision to be sustainable, the citizenry had to pay their
bills,’’ the citizenry have to pay water bills and there will be a new metering
system,’’ she hinted.

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