(AfDB) - “When the water was first released, we filled up our water containers, large and small, for the days ahead when the taps would go dry again. Surprisingly, the next day the taps were still flowing; they haven’t stopped since then” - Hauwa Sani, Housewife, Zaria City.
For the first time in over 30 years, taps in 20,000 households in Zaria City in northern Nigeria are flowing with potable water. Women and children no longer have to walk long distances in the scorching sun to fetch water from community boreholes. The risk of exposure to water-borne diseases from drinking water sold by vendors will now reduce considerably.
This glimmer of hope is a result of efforts by the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank through the Zaria Water Supply and Sanitation Expansion Project (ZWSESP). The project is actively contributing to government efforts to increase access to water and sanitation from 54% for and 32% to 100%, respectively, by 2020.
Since the age of 6, Zubair Abba had to walk to the neighbourhood mosque to fetch water every morning. He made multiple trips daily to collect enough for his family’s domestic needs. When asked what this meant to him, the 11-year-old said, “I have never seen water flow from the tap in our courtyard. Not even a drop! Now my brother and I have one less morning chore. It means we can get to school on time. On weekends, we can play football.”
The African Development Bank financing of $100 million covers the rehabilitation and expansion of the distribution system for Zaria City and its environs. This component, which has achieved 100% completion, includes the installation of over 500km of pipes and a brand new 150 million litre per day water treatment plant. It also includes the rehabilitation of two water treatments.
To ensure that no family is left behind, a revolving social connection fund for low income households is now operational. The fund provides water to poor households at subsidized rates. Two hundred sanitation facilities in schools and public places have been completed.