Ondo residents now rely on dug wells and boreholes for drinking water after a four-week-old government workers’ strike shut off public water supply, driving locals to desperate means of surviving.
The workers are demanding payment of their five months’ salary arrears.
Although the state usually suffers inadequate water supply, the Ondo State Water Corporation provides water sales points at different locations, particularly in Akure, the state capital.
Residents buy container of water daily from the sales points.
With the strike, potable water is a scarce commodity in most towns of the state, as residents now resort to drinking water from well, which is poorly treated.
The Ondo State Water Corporation says it cannot guarantee the quality of the water from wells and boreholes done by individuals since it is not currently monitoring the situation.
According to the chairman of the corporation, Steve Giwa, his agency is handicapped to regulate the digging of wells and boreholes because of the lack of water law in the state.
A resident, who identified himself as Akintunde, told PREMIUM TIMES in Akure that the borehole in the estate where he lives provides the needed drinkable water for those living in the area.
“The water is clean and we drink it,” he said. “So we don’t need to look for water elsewhere.”
Other residents who are not privileged to be near a borehole resort to looking out for a “Good Samaritan” rich enough to be willing to make his borehole water available to the public free of charge.
A cocoa processing company in Algbaka, has opened its tap to the public, and its premises attracts a large number of people.
Some residents have also resorted to buying sachet water, popularly called “pure water”.
With the scarcity, “pure water” manufacturers sell a bag for N180.
“How long can you sustain the buying of bags of pure water?” Tope, a journalists based in Akure asked. “I cannot afford it, I prefer to go out there and get to the place where I can get water from any borehole.”
With the workers not willing to get back to work despite appeals from the government, there are fears that the people may have to wait a long time to have access to treated water.
Mr. Giwa told PREMIUM TIMES that the corporation was concerned about the situation, but could do nothing to get workers back to work.
“We are concerned, even as the government is concerned, but people have alternative sources of water besides what the corporation is providing,” he said.
Asked if he was sure of the quality of water from the alternative sources, Mr. Giwa replied: “I don’t know.”
“We are not yet monitoring because there is no water law,” said Mr. Giwa. “The law is currently at the level of the state executive council and when it is treated, it will be taken to the House of Assembly.”
Mr. Giwa, an engineer, appealed to striking to return to work so as to enable the corporation provide water for the teeming populace.
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