Water is the backbone of the economy and without it; no sector of the economy will function, lest produce for consumption.
This was the assertion of Mr Anthony Akpan, the founder and president of Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE Nigeria) while featuring on a development programme; CS Weekly on Radio One, 103.5fm earlier this week.
The week’s edition of the programme was dedicated to commemorating the 2016 World Water Day with the theme; water and jobs.
Noting that water plays a critical role at any stage of different kinds of jobs and occupations, the water expert argued that the life of an economy could only be sustained if there is water.
“Water is very important because there is no job or production process that doesn’t involve the use of water. In the agricultural sector for example, our farmers will be out of job if there is no water, the same thing for other jobs as well.
“The theme for this year; ‘water and jobs’ is telling us that most jobs are in existence because of the availability of water. Whatever job you are in, you need water to function.”
Speaking on the effects of a poor water system, he noted that more is lost economically and such loss could be prevented.
“If people have access to clean and portable water, the chances of them getting ill is minimal, the man-hour loss due to illness will be averted and there will be less pressure on our health facilities.
“In rural areas, many women walk long distances to get river water which are usually unclean, that period spent in going to the river and coming back will have been used in other economic engagements if they have easy access to clean water.” He noted.
While enjoining the academic institutions to do more research on water, Akpan believes that the privatization of water sector will make it more available.
“Water in the river is free but the water that comes to our tap through the pipe has gone through a process. Energy is used in pumping the water from the river to the treatment plant, chemicals are added to it, and pipelines are put in place to transport the water before it gets to the point where you get it at home.
“Those services are what people pay for and not the water. Water is free but the processing and cleaning of it to make it safe for drinking is what people are charged for.
“Water should not be free but made more affordable. The government should subsidise it to cushion the effect of societal strata. Just like we pay for transport fare and many other things, we should also pay for water.” He explained.
He charged the government to take full responsibility of providing water to avert the danger that may arise from gigging several boreholes by the citizen.