The Federal Government of Nigeria recognizes water and sanitation as the most important need man. Various Government initiatives geared’ wards meeting this basic and important need h, been designed in the past, in spite of these initiatives it is estimated that majority of the people urban and rural areas still lack access to potable water supply and sanitation.
The situation is such that average delivery in ban areas is only 32 litres per capita per day, about litres per capita per day for rural areas. The picture as it exists now poses a great challenge to 1 government at all levels.
The United Nation declared the period 1981-1990 as the water and sanitation decade. The key element of the water decade is full supply of water and sanitation coverage for all citizens of the member countries of the U.N. The African convention on the Conservation of nature and natural resources enjoins member States to develop policies for conservation, utilization and development of underground and surface water.
As a signatory to both the UN Declaration a’ the African Convention the government of Nigeria has initiated various interventions in the water 51.: ply and sanitation sector, at the time of the review of the water decade by the African working group of the collaborative council on water and sanitation, Nigeria was identified as one of the few countries with a draft water and sanitation policy in 1992, Nigeria developed the Rural Water and Sanitation sector strategy and action plan.
It is against this backdrop that Rivers State Government should recognise water and sanitation as essential for maintaining a healthy life and environment, both are fundamentals for the socio-economic development of the state. This conviction should guide the design of intervention that will aim at improving water and sanitation coverage in the state.
Delivery of water and sanitation service in the state should be through the state agencies such as the State Water Board and the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWATSA).
The State Water Board should be responsible for management, operation and maintenance of urban and small towns schemes, the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency on the other hand should provide safe drinking water to rural areas, as a strategy to deal with water related diseases in the state.
For effective implementation of the policy, there is need for institutional reforms at the State and local government levels, the State Government should provide leadership as well as the political will needed to push the change processes envisaged.
The Ministry of Water resources should be responsible for policy formulation and review, planning, facilitation, co-ordination and collaboration with other ministries and agencies, data collection and analysis, monitoring and evaluation, own budgeting and implementation, ensure that regulatory measures are put in place to guide the sector and ensure effective water resources management as well as liaise with relevant agencies for the conservation, preservation and protection of water resources within the confines of the state as the need arises.
Rivers Sate Water Board should be responsible for urban water supply and maintenance of facilities, quality assurance and control of urban water supply system, setting of urban tariffs as well as data collection and analysis.
Rivers State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWATSA) should be responsible for rural water supply and Sanitation also provide technical support to the water and Environmental Sanitation (WES), Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Department responsible for hygiene in the rural , communities and as well as serve as a secretariat of the state steering committee on water and sanitation.