Acute Water Scarcity Looms As Producers Threaten To Shutdown Operation Nationwide Over High Cost Of Materials
On the 22nd of March, Nigerians joined the international community to celebrate world water Day, during which calls were made to the authorities to strive harder in making the dream of clean and affordable water,a reality for estimated 200 million people in the country.
But it appears the problem of water in Nigeria may continue for a longer time as water producers have threatened to shutdown operations nationwide due to high of production materials.
The National President, Association for Table Water Producers (ATWAP) Mrs. Clementina Ativie made this known at an event in Agbara, Ogun State to commemorate this year’s World Water Day.
Mrs. Ativie said due to soaring cost of producing potable water occasioned by astronomical hike in prices of raw materials, members could no longer sustain their businesses, appealing on government to come to their aid by subsidising water production, for potable water to continue to be within the reach of all categories of Nigerians.
“The economic realities of our time has placed heavy hands on us. I want to infer here that we need serious intervention from the government because, we are producing practically at a loss and can no longer cope with the high cost of production materials”, stated Ativie while briefing journalists in the course of the celebration.
She said, “I plead with all sense of responsibility that the government should hear us out for the simple reason that ATWAP plays vital role like the petroleum haulagers, because water is life.
“Water business is highly addictive; once you come in, its difficult for you to leave the business. A lot of us bring money from other sources and put it into water business and the money will sink.
“As it is now, we need Government intervention. Government intervention in the sense that subsidy shouldn’t be for petroleum products alone. Water is more essential than petroleum when it comes to human life.
“Therefore, we should be assisted and helped, even if it means giving us loans at single digit.
“During the COVID, other aspects of the economy were all compensated , but we in water business, were not. You go to bank to borrow money to do business, they will not give you because they think you might not be able to return it”.
Mrs. Arivie noted that going by the cost of production materials including nylon and chemicals, a bag of sachet water should not be sold for below 200 to 250 naira, otherwise the producers would be operating at a loss.
According to her, for a long time, producers have been bearing the extra cost and cannot continue to bear it as the cost of the materials have become quite expensive.
Mrs. Ativie explained that a certain water production material that was sold for around 800 naira is now close to 2000 naira, with price continuously increasing from 5 to 15 percent per week.
She however urged her members that as long as they remained in the business, they should always strive to do it right, without compromising the standards, stressing that the theme for this year’s World Water Day celebration was a call on man to go the extra-mile in making potable water available and affordable for all.
“This briefing, like every other is important because, today 22nd March 22 is World Water Day; a day set aside to reflect on water and its usefulness with the theme: Groundwater, making the invisible, visible. Nigeria being part of the world demands that we should celebrate this day alongside the global community. Can you pulse a while and imagine a day without water? That day will be very difficult for sure.
“ATWAP for over two decades have been on the vanguard of not only water production but also championing healthy water consumption in the country.
“Here again, we want to reiterate that water remains the source of life and so, issues concerning water consumption ans production therefore calls for dose attention it requires from us the producers and the government if indeed we are to promote healthier society.
“This year’s theme for the celebration is groundwater, making the invisible visible.
“God inspired man to dig holes in form of wells to get water for use. The thought and effort put in such venture shows that man will do whatever is humanly possible to get water for use.
“Today increase in population and human developmental activities have further made water especially potable water scarce and that is why underground water hidden far below the earth’s bowel is abstracted and purified for the specific intended use.
“At this occasion, I speak and appeal to all water producers in Nigeria as the National President of the Association for Table Water Producers of Nigeria, the umbrella body of all water producers in this country to be mindful of the weighty responsibility we have accepted the moment we chose to go into water business.
“It is our responsibility to make sure that the underground abstracted consciously by us for purifications set for us by NAFDAC. As we celebrate today, let’s ask ourselves this question: Does my action or inactions make the groundwater I have abstracted purer or poorer? Let our conscience guide us alright”, she urged.