By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo

As world celebrates 2020 World Water Day, Osun state government has reiterated its commitment to providing potable water supply across the nooks and crannies of the State.

The government disclosed its readiness to collaborate with relevant stakeholders and organisations in ensuring improved and adequate water supply in the state.

The State Commissioner for Water Resources and Energy, Dr. Amidu Tadese Raheem, said this on Sunday during a Press Conference in Osogbo, which was organised by his Ministry to commemorate the World Water Day. The Day is marked 22 March every year and this year’s theme is ‘Water and Climate Change.’

The Conference which was jointly addressed by the Commissioner and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Resources and Energy, Engr. Adeniran Felix Ibitoye, was aimed at sensitising the public on the significance of water to healthy living and the need for them to maintain personal hygiene.

Dr. Raheem who described water as indispensable to healthy living, said the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola had strengthened the capacity of the ministry towards the provision of potable water for the citizens.

He said the Ministry had been given the mandate to ensure that people of the state are provided with clean drinking water, stressing that the provision of potable water remains one of the core mandates of the present administration.

The Commissioner who commended the Governor for being committed to the healthy living of the citizens through the implementation of people-oriented policies and programmes, pledged the continued commitment of the ministry to give a facelift to water management and sanitation in the State.

He said: “The main purpose of this conference is therefore to advocate for the sustainable management of fresh water to the general public, and to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference.

“This year World Water Day is to emphasise the importance of water to human race and create avenue to discuss how nature-based solutions are sustainable and cost-effective ways to help rebalance the water cycle, mitigate the effect of climate change and improve human health and livelihood.

“If we want to create a sustainable future, water management needs to be scrutinized through a climate resilience mechanism and there is the need to invest more on improved hydrologic data, education, risk assessment knowledge sharing and capacity development. Water policies need to ensure representation, participation, behavioural change and accountability of all stakeholders.

“So, kudos must be given to Governor Oyetola, who has performed well through the implementation of the State Water and Sanitation Sector Policy and Law, and avoided doing anything that can negatively affect the schemes and infrastructures across the state.

“To ensure that people have access to sustainable water, Mr Governor procured an industrial submersible pump as a palliative measure for the faulty intake structure in order to bring succour to the people being served by the water scheme.

“In the same vein, Governor Oyetola has continued with this zeal through the ongoing construction of Ilesa water supply and sanitation project and continued maintenance of existing water infrastructure in the state so as to meet the current day challenges as epitomised by the recent scourges of Lassa Fever and COVID-19, that requires potable water for good hygiene and sanitation practices in order to combat them”, he said.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Resources and Energy Engr. Ibitoye, lauded the efforts of the government at ensuring drinking water for all since its inception.

He noted that the state had remained relentless in its efforts at increasing access to potable water through rehabilitation of existing water mains and facilities in the urban, semi-urban and rural communities of the state.

“The State of Osun Water Corporation has been saddled to oversee the day to day functioning and maintenance of these schemes. In this connection, the Governor of the state, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola recently approved the establishment of the Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (STOWA) and the St ate Water Regulatory Commission (WRC).

“In addition to these, with aid from international donor organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the state Rural Water Environmental and Sanitation Agency (RUWESA) had sunk quite a good number of boreholes which are either motorized or hand pump throughout several communities across the state.

“We have embarked on facility tour of some water works and mini-water schemes in the state. We have held meetings with all the concerned stakeholders and about to sign Memoranda of Understanding with some of our partners. We have also met and consulted with contractors, consultants and firms who are willing to partner with the state government in ensuring that the people of the state enjoy uninterrupted supply of clean and potable water.

“As of today, we are happy to inform the people of the state that the Ilesa Water Supply and Sanitation project would be delivered within the shortest possible time. We have been able as a government to partner with the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) to intervene on this project and ensure timely delivery”, Ibitoye added