By Arthur Mgbokwere
The USAID has, in conjunction with the Imo State Water Corporation, embarked on a reformation drive to revive the abandoned public water scheme put in place during the Second Republic and which, unfortunately has been left to rot over the years by successive Governments, thereby giving rise to privately owned water companies which in many cases do not dispense healthy water for human consumption, bringing about sicknesses caused by different water born diseases and high charges on consumers.
The General Manager, Imo State Water Corporation, Mrs. Hope Anyiam, during a summit held at Full Moon Hotels Owerri, emphasized on the need to provide healthy and affordable water to the general public. The woman who, together with the chairman of the corporation, Prince Harry Oguoke and her team of workers, narrated their journey into bringing the Imo state Government to agree to their terms of restructuring the now morribond corporation from a state owned one into a partnership with them through the help of USAID, bringing about a Corporitization which simply means running the corporation by public servants, under the supervision of the Government with a chairman and a Board of Directors appointed by same to manage the affairs of the organization. To this, the state Governor gave his express permission and signed a written agreement with the GM, while at the same time charged her to maintain her good works of having a healthy and steady water supply within Owerri and environs and ameliorate the sufferings of the people.
To ensure that the scheme is a success, a number of things have already been put in place which, when implemented, will lead to a steady supply of portable water to the entire state.
Already work on the first phase of the scheme is under way and will kick off from Owerri, the Imo state capital as it targets the urban areas. On the other hand, PWASH will see to the rural areas with a view to making healthy and affordable water available in all the books and crannies of the state. A project which no doubt has been estimated to take years to accomplish.
As a quasi independent organization with the powers to take its own decisions to make for a better and effective service to the populace, it can employ its own staff who must be qualified in the relevant fields on water hygiene and other related areas rather than towing the usual Government policy of employing Civil Servants from various fields of human endevour with no knowledge on water resources and management.
According to the GM, the potentialities of doing business with the Corporitized organization can also be explored by private and corporate entities who may wish to be a part of the innovation and who are desirous of a healthy and cheap sustained water supply with an estimated initial target of 500 000 homes within the nearest future.
Addressing some of the challenges confronting the organization such as lack of vehicles, power shortage, revitalization of the many pipe lines which are either rusted, damaged or destroyed due to road construction or non existent at all in which case the area will have to be piped newly, she assured that measures are already in place for those.
The scheme which has already gotten the approval from the state Government has Otammiri river as its source of supply. A test run of the scheme has kicked off at Egbeada within Owerri with the water very healthy for human consumption, unlike the usual pure water, many of which are not really pure and good for drinking.
To assist the people in determining the state of their bore holes in their private homes, the organization already has equipments procured for tasting of the water with a view to determining how safe they are for drinking or cooking edibles for human consumption because health is wealth.
In his closing remarks during the seminar, the chairman of the board commended her for her honesty, transparency and dedication to work while at the same time stressing on the need to revitalize the pipe born water scheme in the state.