United States Leads Efforts to Improve potable Water
Ebonyi, Nigeria – This week, in response to the problem of access to potable water for millions of people in Rivers and Ebonyi states, the United States Government in partnership with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources, and the Ministry of Public Utilities in Ebonyi State, supported two separate closeout workshops on urban water reform. Nearly 200 public-utility workers met to discuss implementation challenges of water reform policies. They also reviewed best practices, and identified opportunities for improving water services for residents in the two states.
Matthew Burton, Director for Economic Growth and Environment at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said, “Access to clean water can save children from diseases and deaths, improve learning capacities and increase income producing options.” Burton continued, “Investing in water can provide enormous returns in terms of the benefits throughout society.”
Rivers and Ebonyi states have made significant progress in their urban water reforms. The water reform law and the institutional framework in the two states align with international best practices meant to improve the financial viability, independence, and accountability of utility services.
Since 2011, U.S. government investments in Nigeria’s water sector have focused on improving efficient management of water resources by utilities, communities, and consumers. A strong foundation has been laid to achieve sustainable water services, with Ebonyi, Rivers, and Bauchi states introducing new billing and accounting systems, updating customer information, monitoring pipe networks, as well as breakdowns.
Although the current project is closing out, USAID is committed to working with state public utilities in Nigeria to help identify sector-specific constraints and to systematically address identified issues to improve the overall performance of the water sector.