AfDB-Assisted Zaria Water Supply, Expansion and Sanitation Project Launched

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November 14 marked a milestone in the history of Zaria, Kaduna State, with the launch of its $480 million Water Supply, Expansion and Sanitation Project. The start-up was launched at the site of the newly built water treatment plant in a ceremony with the Governor of Kaduna State; the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris; Ajisegiri Benson, representative of the Minister for Water Resources; and the Country Director of the African Development Bank as guests of honour.

The African Development Bank loan of $100 million will focus on putting infrastructure and systems in place to ensure water produced gets to the end users leading to improved access from 30 per cent to 80 per cent by 2017, improved sanitation of schools, health centres, markets, motor parks and other public places to 90 per cent by 2017 and improved capacity and commercial viability of the Kaduna State Water Board.

Over 2.2 million people from 23 communities in seven Local Government Areas will be benefitting from this project by the year 2025.

In his remarks, the Country Director of the AfDB, Ousmane Dore, urged Kaduna State Government to bear in mind the importance of building sustainability mechanisms into the project, ensuring that the State Water Board is legally and financially autonomous and able to operate in a commercially-oriented manner. He also reiterated that setting of water tariffs must be realistic to cover the cost of production and delivery, and urged the Government to encourage private-sector participation.

In response, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, expressed appreciation for the AfDB loan of $100 million (NGN 15 billion) to fund Phase III, which is the rehabilitation and extension of distribution network, capacity support for improved sustainable service delivery by Kaduna State Water Board and provision of sanitation facilities. He also recognized the loan of $81 million (NGN 12.5 billion) from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for Phase III, the construction and transmission mains and service reservoirs, adding that both Phases II and III of the project will be finished in 2017.