Water Scarcity: Stop exploiting uninformed Nigerians, AWDROP warns Private Borehole operators

An expert in water resources, and National President of the Nigeria Borehole Drillers association also known as Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP) Engr. Micheal Ale, has raised the alarm that many private borehole operators are already taking advantage of the growing scarcity of water being witnessed in many parts of the country, to exploit Nigerians.

Ale, also said that many unlicensed private drilling operators have began charging exhorbitant fees for their services to the detriment of Nigerians.

Although, he attributed the unwholesome development to the nation’s current economic challenges leading to rising costs of drilling tools such as casings and fuel.

The national President, AWDROP said that the alarming rate with which these operators charge their clients to render drilling services amounts to extortion and Nigerians are sadly, at the receiving end.

The national President of AWDROP, therefore urged government to urgently come to the aide of the citizenry by urgently subsidizing the cost of providing alternative water sources for the people especially during this pandemic period mostly for people in the rural area.

He warned private operators to desist from deliberate extortion of unsuspecting Nigerians and further urged government to get rid of unlicensed private operators currently populating the water resources industry in Nigeria.

Ale, who had earlier decried a rising scarcity of water in the country, proffered other workable solutions to the challenge.

Bemoaning extortion by private drilling operators, he said: “Many water operators are now extorting without remorse.

Government can support the association to stem this extortion by supporting the Drillers association as a means of subsidizing cost of drilling for the masses.

Addressing the government on the need for urgent intervention, he added: “Many water schemes projects from government and agencies should be critically reviewed, if not, the projects are bound to fail.
Many operators are not licensed to sell water, so, if water vending caused illness, the citizen has the right to approach court of law.

“Water scarcity is hitting Many states now and the cost of drilling is getting high because of the exchange rate and the materials for borehole drilling e.g Casings. Invariably, the cost of drilling is high which is mounting more pressure on government to provide water.

“This scenario is making the vulnerable more exposed to health risks which will in turn make government spend more on the health sector. My advise to the state where such instance is precarious is to have a Water Supply resilient plan where emergency response is prompt.
It is important to also note that government have responsibility to make water available to citizens, that is ensuring access to portable water at affordable and subsidized cost, because many have paid their price through energy explored to get water from hand dug well or borehole far away from their location.

“States battling with water scarcity include Abuja, Taraba, lmo, Bauchi, My call to development partners is to make a concerted effort in making sure the programme for result Project they are supporting is sustainable,” he said.

Proffering more solutions to the challenges, Ale, who informed newsmen about efforts being made by his association, AWDROP, to curb the wanton extortion against Nigerians, assured that professional Drillers’ register will soon be opened so Nigerians will know who to patronize when it comes to borehole drilling in the country.

He further said: “Finally, decentralized water supply system is geared towards locations where there is no transmission pipeline, hence access is still very important. This method will create employment opportunities for the youth through training of various artisans on pipe repairs and plumbing works.” Ale said.


World Water Day: “We do better than Nigerian Govt on water supply “, Expert reveal

A developmental expert and President of the Association Of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners Practitioners (AWDROP), Ale Micheal has tasked the Federal Government of Nigeria to collaborate with experts in water industry to provide safe drinking water.

Ale, the Co-founder, Global Initiative for Nigeria Development (GIND) while speaking on Thursday with Roundoff news in Ado-Ekiti on the commemoration of this year’s World Water Day, said Government at the local level is doing little or nothing to provide safe drinking water.

His words: “Every March 22 is marked by United Nation to celebrate water and this year’s theme is, ‘valuing water’. World is covered by water and we have merely 3 percent as fresh water out of a total 98 percent. 

“My organization is a business minded organization. We have human face in terms of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). If we look at it comparatively, we have done more than government in providing safe and clean water. We are working to complement government efforts. For instance, if we don’t have boreholes in the world, what would have happened to livelihood? Now, we are talking about children and adults, I can say we in private sector have done more than government. Despite the heavy cost, we are able to give safe and clean water to our clients at subsidized cost to provide safe and clean water.

“We have a situation where the Federal Government  has helped the Road transport owners and workers with their vehicles, also with good roads and motor parks, the market women with shops and beautiful markets, and so on and so forth. But when it comes to our industry, nothing has been done to assist Practitioners. Moreso, the only program earmarked for our sector, has been scrapped by some unscrupulous individuals in government. This is really bad. 

I don’t see where Government is collaborating, instead we are subsidizing to provide these facilities and provide water for the people. People don’t even want to dig well again because the cost is almost equivalent to digging borehole. 

“In rural areas, we don’t have water resources and we don’t know which of the 36 state governors is ready to collaborate with us even including the state we are in,  Oyo State.” 

Speaking on the lack of regulation as major challenge, he said: I don’t want to be sentimental about this, but I want to say unequivocally that water should be treated as a business. African Development Bank current President, Akinwunmi Adesina, during his tenure as the Minister for Agriculture in Nigeria, emphasized the business face of Agriculture and a department was created where giving Agriculture input for free was stopped. Same way to value water, water must be treated as business. We have Asejiri dam in Oyo State, what is the percentage of water coming from there for Ibadan people. Why must we depend solely on dam alone? Why drillings are not regulated? These are areas calling for concern.

“Livelihood is more important than environment because environment is of no importance if there are no people therein. The issue is, should we die because we don’t want environment to be destroyed. Therefore, are we placing premium on environment above people? It’s just like we are saying planes should not fly because their emission of gas is destroying Ozone layers. This is to say that borehole drillers’ activities are not destroying the environment against belief from some quarters. Regulation of operators in drilling industry is what is important to avoid environmental degradation through haphazard drilling. From time of immemorial, boreholes have been sunk and there were no advert effect. The only effect is that the water is drying up because the volume of underground water is no longer sufficient for consumption. And soon, this may be causing disputes between neighbours when available water can’t serve a neighborhood. The only solution to this is, regulations of borehole operations in Nigeria.

“Government and stakeholders in water sector must come together to fashion out solutions to haphazard drilling of boreholes and as a way to conserve our environment”.

Also speaking on 2030 UN’s water target goal, Ale noted that with realities on ground, Nigeria can’t reach that target. He maintained that after 2030’s expiration of the water goal, there will be another goal for another 15 years. He advised that for Nigeria to achieve the goals, FG must domesticate UN’s method to realize the goals.