There is presently a gruelling water scarcity situation in Kukui, a community in the Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State as residents now share the only source of water they have with cattle and other animals.
According to Daily Trust investigation, Mrs Talatu Philemon, a housewife, wakes up before sunrise to trek a distance of one hour before she could fetch a bucket of water for domestic use from a stream near a rock.
In Kukui and its environs, a stream which flows through bushes and rocks serves as the only source of water for people and animals.
Sometimes, if the animals get there first, Talatu, and other residents will have to wait for them to drink, splash and oftentimes defecate in the stream.
She said, “Most times, we wait for the water to settle if the cattle pass through it,” she said adding that “we and our animals drink from the same stream, the cattle rearers also use the stream with their cattle. Mostly, we worry that the animals defecate and urinate in the stream,”
Getting access to potable water is an exacting task in many rural communities across Nigeria. This has made many local resort streams and other unhygienic sources of water meet their needs
In Kaduna State, the Kaduna State Water Cooperation (KADSWAG) is responsible for providing and supplying potable water in all parts of the state, but its strength does not reach the teeming residents of semi-urban and rural communities.
Rural settlements are often served via a network of boreholes and mono-pump water schemes. Still, only a few communities in Kagarko LGA can boast of potable water, as many get their water from streams or other unhygienic sources.
In Kukui community, the headquarters of Kukui ward, in Kagarko, there are at least 16 boreholes spread within the community that is now faulty. With Kukui resting its hope on a single, unreliable mono-pump for its over 3,000 population, many residents of the community and other surrounding communities drink from the stream.
“Communities like Kosoh, Chigwa, Kubere, Kukok, Kusam, Iche Kasa, Iche Bisa and Kuchi, together with their animals have for years equally relied on the stream,” said Shedrack Michael, a resident of Kukui.
Another resident who spoke to Daily Trust is Moses James.
He explained how his two children often miss school or arrive late because they have to trek the long distance to the stream to fetch water for the family.
“Water is essential to life,” he said, adding that “while they use water from the stream for domestic purposes or boil it before drinking, they mostly rely on sachet water for drinking.
The president of Kagarko Youth Progressive Forum (KYPF), Shedrack Michael, who hails from Kukui, said existing boreholes in the community were poorly drilled, thus, gulping a lot of money in an attempt to fix them. “We’ve engaged the local authority to no avail, that is why we want the state government to intervene with modern ones such as solar boreholes,” he said. “We have just one that is currently functioning and it takes almost an hour before water drops. Majority of the populace drink from open streams which they share with cattle without boiling.”
Responding to the situation, the Chairman of Kagarko LGA, Nasara Rabo, said his council was aware of the problem that most communities in Kagarko are faced with. Rabo who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant, Godwin Shehu Magaji, said the council had approved 100 boreholes to be constructed across the 10 wards in the LGA, adding that each ward will have 10 boreholes.
“We have finished with Jere North and Jere South and some places and we are coming to Kukui and other wards very soon,” he said. He encouraged communities to develop the culture of owning and maintaining projects and not to depend on the government to fix the projects.
“Presently, there is an ongoing project of building bridges and culverts in the area which will help them in many ways. Apart from this, the 100 boreholes project will soon come to the ward as we have finished with other wards,” the Chairman added.