By: THOMAS ADEJO
SINCE ASSUMING OFFICE AS THE GENERAL MANAGER ,KADUNA STATE WATER BOARD [KSWB] ENGR. KABIR AHMED RUFAI HAS BEEN MAKING FRANTIC EFFORT TO ENSURE CONSTANT WATER SUPPLY TO ALL NOOKS AND CRANNIES IN KADUNA METROPOLIS AS WELL AS OTHER MAJOR TOWNS IN THE STATE. IN THIS INTERVIEW WITH penmasternews. REPORTER, THOMAS ADEJO, KABIR SAYS HIS EFFORT IN THE PROVISION OF POTABLE WATER TO THE PEOPLE IS YIELDING POSITIVE DIVIDENDS. EXCERPTS.
PENMASTERNEWS: What is the situation in the area of providing clean water to the people of Kaduna state?
Kabir:As you are aware l have been involved in the water supply services in kaduna state for sometime now and in November 2011 l was appointed the General Manager of the KSWB.
All that time before my appointment, the area of coverage in terms of water supply was less than what we have now, and the quality and volume of water we were supplying was not up to the rate of what we supply today.
In fact, on my appointment we deliberately set out a programme on how we can open up areas where there was no water supply and we did it in a systematic manner.
So, a number of areas within Kaduna metropolis which were not getting water were opened. Some areas where there was the issue of damage to pipelines, it was repaired and the exercise is still ongoing. Therefore some areas where there are houses and there were no pipelines the pipes have been extended to those areas.
And l must confess that all these efforts have resulted in tremendous increase of water supply and
increase in the revenue we are generating.
Similarly, we have done the same thing in Zaria.You are aware that the problem of water supply in Zaria requires the completion of the on-going 150 million litres of water treatment plant but within what we are able to produce , we embarked on our systematic programme and replacement of all over aged pipes and open up new areas within Zaria and environs which has resulted in an increase in the volume of water we are sending to Zaria. For your information, we have embarked on the similar exercise in Kafanchan, Zonkwa and Saminaka.
In addition, the Executive governor of the state, Dr Ramalan Mukhtar Yero, has continued to support the water board with the provision of energy.
He pays the electricity bills for the water board and always provide funds to enable us purchase diesel for our various stations .
Cosequently, Kwoi town has now functional and steady water supply. So also Zango kataf, Kafanchan, Zonkwa, Samaru Kataf, Kagoro, Manchok Saminaka, Ikara, and the modest improvement we recorded in water supply in Zaria can be attributed to this support from the governor.
So , we remain grateful to the state governor , Dr Ramalan Mukhtar Yero for his support.
PENMASTERNEWS: From what you have said what is your assessment generally?
Kabir: Generally, all over across the state, we have improved in our services. Our service coverage has increased to about 70 per cent of our capacity utilization and by June this year we are hoping that our capacity utilization would reach 90 per cent.
This means that we will be able to run our water works almost as designed.
But l must tell you that there are a number of some areas in kaduna particularly where there are no water pipes. As you may be aware, the last time the major pipe laying network was done in kaduna was in 1987.
Thereafter in 2008 and 2009 we laid about 30 kilometer pipes and in 2012 we also laid another 30 kilometer water pipelines while in between that time came various interventions and we laid another 10 kilometer pipes.
So, you can see that by and large, we still have huge areas that have houses and people living there but there are no water pipes and thank God the state governor particularly is aware of this and long ago he saw the need , just as he has commissioned experts to do a study which they have finished and the report has been submitted.
I am very sure that the governor is thinking on how to source the fund to expand Kaduna water supply project.
Notwithstanding, we will continue to expand the supply of water within our meagre resources, so l want to plead with our customers to pay their bills promptly and directly to the board,s bank account.We have a preheaded Point of Self[POS] which customers can go and pay directly and the money will get to our account. It is when customers pay that we can use the money to improve our services without waiting for government to assist us .
Therefore, we plead with our customers to play their civic responsibility.
The second issue is that some people are going about defrauding people claiming they are our staff.
These people are not genuine staff of the board. I want to say that these people go about telling unsuspected water consumers that they can reduce their bills or cancel it for them.
Let me say it that this is not possible because our billing system in kaduna is computerized, there is no way anybody can tamper with that, it cannot be detected.
So water consumers in kaduna should not allow themselves to be defrauded by these unscrupulous elements.
PENMASTERNEWS: Why are there so many leakage pipes in the town?
Kabir:Actually, we do have pipes leakage around the town. Some, our staff see them and make the repair while others we do not see.
Those that we do not see we plead with consumers to draw our attention so that we can go there immediately and effect the repair.
Again, there are some people whose water pipes are disconnected for defaulting in payment of water rate and they would go and reconnect illegally by using tube to tie the pipes.
This is dangerous to say the least. Not only you are defrauding the water board but you are also endangering your life because the point at which you tie the pipe could be the source of dirty water to your house. We appeal to consumers to desist from this act.
PENMASTERNEWS: Is there any law to take care of this kind of situation?
KABIR: Our law is clear. You are not to do this and if you do and caught, we surcharge you, that is what part of the law says.
You know this is also stealing. There is also a provision in law that allows us to prosecute.
QUESTION: WHEN WOULD WATER BE FINALLY RESTORED TO ZARIA?
KABIR: Upon the completion of the 150 millon litres water treatment plant and the construction, rehabilitation,distribution network and services Zaria will get sustainable water supply .
The 150million litres water treatment plant has reached 88 per cent completion.
All of these programmes are on-going. The African Development Bank Programme component of the project ,we are working on the tender documents for the supply and installation of the pipes, lslamic Bank component of the project we are also working on the contract documents for the construction of transmission mains and services. These contracts are expected to be completed within two years .
When this is done , there will be adequate water supply for the people of Zaria .