The National President, Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP), Engr Michael Ale has advocated for more drilling of borehole and wells especially for the dwellers in rural area across Nigeria who are vulnerable to novel COVID-19 pandemic, to curb spread of the disease among them.
According to him, many rural and sub-urban areas are serviced either with the water from the stream or wells that are contaminated and sometime with on-site off grid; mechanical generator powered or hand pumps.
He said: “the main instruction from the WHO is to wash hands in the running taps without touching taps for hygiene purpose. But, where is the running taps especially in the village where many children on daily bases visit a hand Pump facility and take a stroke by touching the handle before water can be made available for their house chores.
“Stay at home order is effective in developed countries because their water infrastructures are piped, which is not same in developing country like Nigeria. Many houses in the rural area are running out of water. Who is their mouth piece? They can’t aired their view to the government, that’s why you cannot get any related views on scarcity or non availability of water during this pandemic”, he said.
Engr. Ale who is a consultant on water to many international organisations across the globe explained that government at all levels should as a matter of urgency embark on massive drilling of borehole which is the quick way to solving the novel pandemic, being one major preventive campaign strategy against the spread of COVID-19.
“The Federal Government in some of its ongoing awareness campaigns and jingles have been advocating and advising people to always wash their hands in running water, but the question is how many of such facility is on ground? “
“Even some of the advocates and political office holders who had been at the forefront of this campaign are also seen washing their hands in water basin contrary to what they had been preaching to their followers?” This is not right, it exposes the weakness of the leaders in providing adequate infrastructure to the common man”.
The AWDROP National President however said the association is ready to positively and effectively collaborate with relevant government, political office holders and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) to ensure water for all emphasising the importance of water in human lives especially at this time that people are scouting for life, forgetting that Water is Life.
Engr. Ale, a development partner also added that potable and affordable water remains one of the measures taking across the world to also curb community spread of COVID -19 which is now the next phase of the spread of the virus, and this can only be subdued with adequate provision of water saying but the strategy must be adaptive.
“On-site sanitation and environmental hygiene is being advocated by Water Sanitation and Hygeine experts around the world, especially in the rural area because of the need to get water from the public Boreholes”.
Ale therefore advised Federal Government to provide water in schools, hospitals, markets, motor parks, religious centers and other places identified as public places.
According to him, this gesture will surely help in post covid-19 sustenance, reiterating that the government have the capacity to do more with less by subsidizing borehole cost for Nigerians through their Agro-Rural Water Supply Support Initiative (ARUWASSI).
Ale, the National Coordinator of the project which is a collaborative initiative between AWDROP and FMARD expressed satisfaction on the current capacity of the association to provide such assistance through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), as more Rigs had been procured to Manage the current situation.