Category Archives: Politics water/Power Supply

Causes of the Failure of Water Supply Donor Projects in Africa especially in Nigeria.

Causes of the Failure of Water Supply Donor Projects in Africa especially in Nigeria

 I define “enabling environment” for success of donor projects as availability of constant and stable power supply, and in the absence of this, readily available fuel at affordable price and the absence of corruption. On the other hand, “a poor enabling environment” would mean erratic power supply, frequent fuel shortage as well as expensive fuel and corruption.

 The quote from the Reuters article below: “In one case in Nigeria, boreholes and pumps relied on an unreliable electricity grid, with diesel generators installed as back-ups. But the high cost of diesel meant that the back-ups were largely unused and towns returned to using unsafe sources of water” is an apt summary of why donor projects fail in most African countries.

 I wonder if there is any alternative that is open to donors as far as having cost effective boreholes without having to resort to solar power for their water supply projects.



EU falls short on Africa water projects

REUTERS, September 28 2012
By Ethan Bilby

Brussels – More than half of the European Union’s projects to provide safe drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa failed to deliver, the EU’s audit watchdog said in a report on Friday.

The report by the European Court of Auditors examined 23 projects co-funded by the EU in six African countries between 2001 and 2010. The audit found that the projects, at a total cost of 400 million euros ($514 million), often lacked sufficient supervision and that checks were not always carried out to ensure that water was fit for human consumption.

The authors said that while equipment was usually installed properly, local communities did not receive enough support to manage the projects long term.

“Fewer than half of the projects examined delivered results meeting the beneficiaries’ needs,” the auditors said in a 43-page report.

In one case in Nigeria, boreholes and pumps relied on an unreliable electricity grid, with diesel generators installed as back-ups. But the high cost of diesel meant that the back-ups were largely unused and towns returned to using unsafe sources of water.

A British member of the European Parliament, Nirj Deva, said: “In these tough economic times it is vital that every pound we spend on foreign aid goes to the right place and achieves the right result. We can’t go on spraying around taxpayers’ cash willy-nilly with no proper regard for the eventual outcome and for value for money.”

In a statement, the European Commission, the EU’s executive, disputed some of the auditor’s findings but acknowledged that the projects could have been run better in some cases.

“There is no room for complacency and there is always a need for improvement,” Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said.

“I want to reconfirm the EU’s strong commitment to making sure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to clean, safe water and sanitation.”

A spokeswoman said that the Commission had improved monitoring of the projects since 2005 and that most of the projects examined in the report were started before reforms were introduced.

“This type of regular checking really proves that EU aid is under control and we are in constant communication with the authorities,” said Catherine Ray, the Commission’s spokeswoman on development issues.

Improving access to drinking water and sanitation are important steps in achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals – a series of eight challenges to increase health and reduce poverty in the developing world by 2015.

One of the aims is for the number of people without safe drinking water and sanitation to be reduced by half from 1990 levels.

The EU spent 1.01 billion euros ($1.3 billion) on water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa from 2001 to 2010, but the World Bank and the United Nations say that between $8 billion and $11.8 billion would be required each year until 2015 to reach the millennium goal on water and sanitation. – Reuters

Kano Spends N5.6b On Water Supply

It is difficult to say kudos to the current Governor of Kano State because of the story in the PM News, reproduced below, concerning the N5.6 billion that was reportedly spent on water supply within 11 months when one considers how much was spent on renovating fences around the Governor’s residence?

In appraising this story, it is necessary to consider how much is spent on building or renovating the Government House in Kano before one can actually praise Kano State. This is necessary when one considers a recent statement credited to Rtd. General Danjuma’s: “You hear talks about multimillion naira fences around government houses, what about the people?”

The statement of the Kano State Commissioner that the State spent “only N500 million” – over US$3 milion –  on renovating the fence around the Government House, is still a considerable amount which tallies with the observation of Rtd. General Danjuma.  When oncd  considers that there are grants of under $1 million to state governments by foreign donors, it would become clear that spending this much money to “renovate” a fence is a waste of scarce resources.

Though one does not know Kano’s budget for this fiscal year and cannot therefore comment on how large the N5.6 billion is when compared to total State budget, one would like to know what other states of the Federation spends on water supply in relation to their total budgets. The percentage of state budget spent on water supply is a good indication of a state’s commitment to improving water supply.

The magnitude of monthly revenue (N82Millon) generated by the state reported in the newspaper is higher than the reported revenues generated by the Water Board in most states.

The reform process in water supply focuses on state water agencies generating enough funds so that they can be self-sufficient and be able to provide better services. It is likely Kano would be able to do this easily considering the size of its Water Board monthly generated revenue. And on the basis of this and the percentage of the State’s budget spent on water supply, one may be able to congratulate successive Kano State governments as the current administration is merely building on existing foundation.



Kano Spends N5.6b On Water Supply  

Maduabuchi Nmeribeh , PM News  May 5, 2012.

Kano state government, northwest Nigeria, has spent N5.6 billion to improve water supply within 11 months.

The Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Bala Mohammed Gwagwaruwa said the fund was used for maintenance services in the existing Water Works across the state, particularly, the Challawa and Tamburawa Water Treatment Plants.

He decried the spate of abandoned projects inherited from the immediate past administration, noting that the current administration was committed to ensuring adequate water supply in the state.

“It is pertinent to say that way back before we took over the mantle of leadership, the situation at the water intakes was very pathetic and disheartening to the extent that only N0.3 water works at Challawa was partially functioning. No. 1 and 2 were not working.

“Additionally, the power situation at Challawa was also frustrating due to the fact that out of the 6 generating sets, only two were functioning. This seriously affected the water supply capacity of the Water Works,” he noted.

He said the bulk of the expenditure was used for maintenance services at the Challawa Water Works and Tamburawa Water Plant, pointing out that the Ministry also carried out comprehensive laying of pipes to meet the target of pumping over 350 million litres of water to Kano citizens before 2015.

He further noted that the projects carried out by the Ministry within the period under review include, rehabilitation of number six water intake, sand bagging of the coffer dam, procurement and installation of six KJI pumps to supply energy to two Water Works.

Apart from procuring generating sets to power the Water Works for adequate water supply to the state following the epileptic power supply by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the Commissioner said the Ministry also repaired pneumatic system for the rapid sand filters and activation of surge tanks for the high lift pumping station at the water plants.

According to him, the previous administration under the state Water Board generated N32 million monthly as revenue, “while within eight months of Kwankwaso’s administration, we are able to generate N82 million as revenue on monthly basis.”

He also stated that the Ministry absorbed about 1000 applicants as casual staff on the payroll of the Water Board, “and I must tell you that this has not only improved working ability in the Board but has also reduced unemployment.”

He urged the people of the state to endeavour to pay their water bills as at when due in order to complement the state government’s desire to ensure adequate and steady water supply to all the nooks and crannies of the state.


Uncoordinated Investments in Water Supply: Rep to sink 60 boreholes in Kogi State

Rep To Sink 60 Boreholes In Kogi


Thu, 29/12/2011 Leadership Newspaper

A member representing Kabba- Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency, Hon. Yusuf Ayo Tajudeen has said that by the first quarter of next year, he will sink 60 bore-holes in every ward across the constituency.

He said that it was his duty as a House of Representatives member to always fight for a project for his constituency.

According to him, the issue of unemployment in the constituency will soon be over, adding that he is working with other people within the constituency to embark on skill acquisition programme so that they can create jobs for the unemployed youths.

He disclosed that they have over 360 data base of unemployed youths, adding that they are working with people within the constituency, to see how they can create employment for the youths.


Comments by Depo Adenle

This is the usual grandiose plan and empty promise made by politicians. And this is why little or no investment is made in the water and sanitation sector. Even when and if the investment is made it is not coordinated with the activities of other players in the sector. This causes a lot of wastage. To embark on this kind of huge project a lot of planning and consultation is necessary. It is uncertain whether the Rep consulted the would-be beneficiaries or other players in the water supply sector such as  the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Kogi State Ministry of Water Resources, the Local Governments in the Rep’s constituency as well as donor agencies?

It will be necessary if this kind of donor-politician is made to channel his donations towards projects in WSS through a sort of coordinating agency at  all levels – LGA, State and Federal.

A lot of boreholes have been drilled which are usually not properly handed over to the benefitting community and which are usually non-functional within a short time after they are completed. In most cases there are no arrangements for operation and maintenance of such boreholes.

If Rep’s  promise is good most of the sixty boreholes should be in place by now according to the deadline given  by the Rep.

FG seeks partner on N68m dam

FG seeks partner on N68m dam

by Judd-Leonard Okafor Thursday, 23 February 2012, DAILY TRUST

Federal government said this week it could not alone fund the N68 million Kampe Omi dam project more than a decade and has opted for a public-private partnership.

Minister of state for power Darius Ishaku said government alone could not finance the project and is willing to provide enabling environment for private sector to step in.

The dam, currently facing disputes over land ownership, is targeted for use in agriculture, water supply and as a hydro-power plant.

Ishaku said public-private partnership was an option to be applied for full utilization of the dam.

The Kampe dam was constructed by an indigenous firm Niko in the second republic and inaugurated in 1999 by former head of state General Abdulsalam Abubakar.

It has capacity for 2 megawatts of electricity, said the power ministry.

It could also employ at least 5,000 workers in subsistence agriculture, said Abubakar Aduragba, managing director of Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority in Ilorin.

His comments came as power officials toured irrigation projects in the north central region, especially Niger, Kogi and Kwara states.

Stakeholders in the sector are scheduled to meet a summit in Akwa Ibom on Friday, to discuss issues hindering service delivery.

Since reforms in the power sector took off, full privatization has been bogged down in negotiations over tariffs, staff welfare and takeover procedures.

Heads of power committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, along with heads of agencies under the power ministry are to attend the summit.



Apparently  the Kampe Omi Dam is one of those dams built by the Federal Government and handed over to the RBDAs and represent a huge waste of capital because as reported by JICA(1995)  there was little evidence of meaningful feasibility studies carried out prior to their construction.

I cannot believe the statement that is credited to the Minister of State for Power ‘…government alone could not finance the project.’ A project of just 68 million Naira? The Minister’s statement as reported by the reporter that the government “… is willing to provide enabling environment for private sector to step in” should be taken as mere political statement, because the FGN has been dragging its feet with respect to passing the National Water Law. There is a proposed National Water Law which is still under review. It will be interesting to find out what this proposed law says about dams and their uses for multipurpose and whether it has any link to the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 (the “EPSRA”). There is a Power Policy – the National Electric Power Policy (“NEPP”) and law – the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 (the “EPSRA”) which provides for the repeal of the National Electric Power Authority (“NEPA”) Act and consequently the de-corporatization of NEPA. It does not appear that there was any collaboration between the power sector and the water sector concerning drafting and approval of their policies and laws. The two sectors use a common resource when it comes to hydroelectricity.

The information given by the reporter that the dam was built by an indigenous firm fails to show who owns the dam. Is it owned by the Federal Government or by the firm?

From what one can glean from the article, this is a multipurpose dam. The input of the water sector is as important as that of the power sector and the agricultural sector.

Why was the dam built without sorting out the issue of land ownership in the first place? If the dam is owned by the FGN why has the government dragged its feet for over 13 years with respect to land acquisition? I am amazed that civil servants would allow a Head of State to declare a facility opened when preliminary issues on the dam were still hanging.

Funding for this project not be a problem in that the senator for this area can help using his constituency vote?

Why is a summit necessary for a physical facility that has all the benefits listed by the Daily Trust and that costs just about one month security vote of a governor. Why not spend the money that would be expended on the summit on the dam? Furthermore, why hold the summit in Akwa Ibom instead of a place close to the Kampe Dam? Holding a summit in such faraway place and to be attended by the proposed list of participants is a waste of tax payers’ money.