No fewer than 137 communities have begun to benefit from a $20 million fund meant to provide clean water and related infrastructure to 24, 592 households and 200, 000 people.
Country Director of Wildlife Conservation Society, Andrew Dunn, disclosed this at Watershed Protection for Safe and Sustainable Water Supply Workshop tagged “Waterfall” for stakeholders in Calabar.
He said the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, grant is for a period of five years from 2022 to 2027.
Explaining, Dunn said the programme will increase water security and resilience in these communities, affirming that Wildlife Conservation Society is the implementer of the fund in collaboration with Partners for Development.
He said that they will further provide support for the building of culverts, boreholes and latrines to help in reducing open defecation which has become commonplace in some communities, according to reports.
Explaining the essence of the workshop, Dunn said: “The Waterfall programme is aimed at strengthening long-term access to safe water and reducing levels of waterborne disease by supporting community-based watershed governance and sanitation, and protecting watershed sources through conserving forest and woodland ecosystems.”
The country director was worried by the declining water quality, which is a global issue.
The programme, according to him, will address five key problems including insecure and inequitable access to safe drinking water due to loss and degradation of important watersheds.
The workshop frowned at wastage of water, condemned open defecations, emptying of wastes into gutters and use of contaminants without adequate water care.
Stakeholders at the workshop, including traditional rulers, appealed for more and safer water sources to avert outbreaks of cholera and dehydration, and provision of more boreholes in more communities.
A senior official of Wildlife Conservation Society, Dr Imong Inayom, advised that governments also should collaborate in the area of water sources and supply as well as protection of the forests.
He said several communities have been earmarked to benefit from solar powered boreholes, assuring that with more fundings they will continue to support communities with safe water sources and training for alternative economic sources.