By Ayobami Adedinni
Lack of discipline and required skills by government employees have been identified as major factors to rural water supply and sustainable development in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, there is no clear long-term sector programme at all levels, no specific agency with role of sanitation, no clear monitoring and data base systems as well as inadequate and unreliable data.
Sadly though, despite government huge expenditure in the provision of affordable and portable water in rural communities, the study has discovered the major challenges facing the achievement of rural water supply in Nigeria to include, policy issues and perspectives, Poor fund management, Government insincerity, inadequate information or education, Land issues, artificial water scarcity, maintenance.
Speaking at the 301st Inaugural lecture of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Owolabi Ajayi , the keynote speaker said prior to 1961,the British hydro geologists operating in West Africa had problems with adopting technology in basement rocks and had to engage locals in drilling.
According to him, government employees lacked the required training, discipline and skills for drilling borehole adding that this has caused the high rate of borehole failures by government employees.
Water is at the centre of economic and social development. It is vital to maintain health, grow food, managed the environment, and create jobs. Despite the importance of water, it is estimated that over 783 million people in the world are still without access to improved water sources and even more are without access to consistent safe drinking water.
He said, “Boreholes drilled in the crystalline rocks of Nigeria have a reputation of failures and low yields. The performance of 256 boreholes drilled in different parts of the crystalline rocks of South West, Nigeria were reviewed to determine their failure characteristics. 100% success was claimed for 105 boreholes constructed by one driller.
“Out of 111 other borehole records supplied by three other drillers 35 were abortive, representing a failure rate of 32%. In contrast, 24 owners of 40 boreholes reported 24 failures representing a failure rate of 60%”, he stated.
Speaking further, he said the common causes of borehole failure in the crystalline rocks of South West Nigeria are seasonal variations in water level, improper casing of the overburden, damage to pumps and other system failures such as blocked pipelines and malfunctioning tanks.
Despite the huge groundwater resources, water resources development has not been able to keep pace with the phenomenal population growth .
Water resources represent a major prerequisite and driver of socio economic development. Economic sectors that water caters for include domestic, agriculture and fisheries, industry, recreation, municipality including waste/effluent disposal, and water transportation. It also plays a prominent role in power and energy generation: hydroelectric power generation’s share of total power.
He further suggested that proper construction, operation and maintenance of boreholes will reduce the incidence of borehole failures in crystalline rocks of South West Nigeria.