Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe, the Minister of Water Resources has called on community leaders to take ownership, repair and maintenance of Federal Government projects to ensure sustainability of water projects in the community. She added that full participation of the community leaders and followers in every project as this would enable the communities feel that the project do not really belong to government but to them thus won’t allow the projects to decay.
The Minister made the call over the while declaring open 2013 World Water Day celebration. She said that the theme of 2013 World Water Day, “International Year of water Cooperation” underscores the importance of cooperation between the different levels of government, civil society organizations and communities to join hands together to ensure accessibility of drinking water to the general public.
Mrs. Ochekpe expressed dissatisfaction to the local government councils that failed to recognize the fact that both federal and local government water projects such as hand pumps and boreholes were aimed at providing potable water to public, and therefore lacked interest in making their little contribution to sustain it, believing that the projects belonged to federal government for maintenance.
“The benefiting communities of the projects or the local government councils should take responsibility of maintaining such projects regardless of whether the project is established by federal government or not”, Ochekpe said.
“We are strengthening our collaboration with state and local governments as well as communities and development partners, we want them to realize that we are all working for the same goal; we don’t want a situation whereby local council or communities would refuse to make little contribution to repair or maintain water facilities in their domain”, she emphasized.
Speaking on partnership with other sectors, the Minister said that water and sanitation cut across other MDGs thereby providing platform for inter-sectoral collaboration and partnership among relevant institutions and sectors such as power, agriculture, environment, health, education and national planning.
She said that stakeholders in the water sector has important role to play in achieving the 2015 MDGs, the vision 20:2020 and the African water target.
In her remarks, the former Head of Service of the Federation who is also Water and Sanitation (WASH) Ambassador, Engr. Ebele Okeke stressed the need for non -governmental organizations (NGO) who wanted to complement government effort through drilling boreholes with hand pumps to ensure full participation of the local communities during the projects.
She further said that completed projects should be handed over to particular group of people for ownership and maintenance adding that most of water projects rotten due to lack of maintenance.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, Baba Umar Faruk said that global cooperation in various water sub-sectors would ensure access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
“The need for cooperation in providing water is most important requirement for social economic development, poverty reduction, socio-economic infrastructure, health, environment and other aspect of development”, he added.