By Felicia Imohimi
The Anambra State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) has urged communities to ensure adequate security of water pumps in their domains.
Mr Victor Ezekwo, the Programme Manager of the agency, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Wednesday at a Media Dialogue on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
The dialogue was organised by the EU/United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Ezekwo lamented the rate of vandalism and stealing of water pumps in some communities in the state and identified the need for community ownership of such project as key in curbing the menace.
He said that there was need to involve the beneficiary communities from conception, construction stages of such projects to finishing and delivery.
The manager noted that community ownership of such projects was key in sustainability of water facilities to ensure proper maintenance.
According to him, through such measures, communities where water projects are sited will do everything possible to ensure they protect such projects from vandals and theft.
Ezekwo, however, urged perpetrators of such act to desist from it, to avoid facing the wrath of the law.
According to him, there must be the political will; religious groups and traditional rulers must be committed toward the security of water projects situated in their vicinity.
He noted that some cases of theft were recorded in places where the communities had not actually owned such projects.
“The issue of theft of borehole pumps is rampant. We try to also put measures in place in terms of anti-theft protection so that the solar pumps or other pumps used for the boreholes would be well protected.
“Ownership is key and the only way to achieve that is when we involve the beneficiaries from the onset to finishing stage and also mentor them on the importance of securing these facilities.
“We observed over time that most of the water and sanitation facilities provided for communities were not properly handed over to the beneficiaries.
“So we looked at it that one of the sustainability measures would be to involve them (communities) from conception; be it a new water project or a rehabilitated one.
“There is need to integrate, inform and carry them along to a logical end,’’ he said.
Ezekwo noted that ownership of WASH projects by communities would ensure sustainability, noting that the communities would ensure proper maintenance of the projects.