In this interview by TUNDE OGUNESAN, the General Manager, Oyo State Water Corporation, Engineer Samuel Adegboyega, speaks about the challenges confronting the corporation in providing water to the state residents and efforts channeled at addressing them.
How many dams do we have in Oyo State?
We have 14 water works in Oyo State. They are Asejire water works, Eleyele, Oyo, two in Iseyin- Koso and Atori, Ogbomoso, Eruwa, Igboho, Kisi, Igbeti, Ago-Amodu, Iganna and Ajinapa, all scattered across the 33 local government areas of the state.
What are their efficiency capacities?
Their design capacities in cubic millions per day are as follows: Asejire I&II about 186 million litres per day; Eleyele has the capacity to produce 27 million litres per day. The waterworks in Oyo township can deliver about 7.7 million litres of water per day; Iseyin-Koso Water Scheme will generate 6000 litres per day while Atori also in Iseyin can generate the same volume of water per day. Ogbomoso has a capacity of 6.6 million litres per day; Eruwa is 3.3 million per day; Saki is 4.8 million per day; Igboho, 1.980 million; Kisi has 1.980 million as well; Igbeti’s capacity is 2.2 million litres per day; Ago-Amodu is about 1.960 million litres per day; Iganna is 4.8 million per day and Ajinapa is about 3,000 litres per day.
Are they working in full capacity as we speak?
Each of these waterworks is old already. That of Asejire was commissioned in 1972. And for emphasis, it was supposed to be rehabilitated in 1982 according to a consultant’s recommendation, but unfortunately the plant was not rehabilitated until 1992; 20 years after. The population in 1972 was different from the population in 1992 and we use population to determine the capacity of plant that will be put in a particular location. It means that the capacity of the plant that we were using from 1972 to 1992 will not be sufficient for the population of Ibadan and that was the time we began to have problems particularly in Ibadan metropolis. It is a reality that with these facilities, water corporation cannot supply water to everybody in Ibadan because the plants that are there are not sufficient to supply everybody. What we are trying to do is to extend water to all new areas, though government has made every possible effort to ensure that water gets to every nook and cranny of the city, it is yet to spread around.
Does that mean Asejire waterworks was not rehabilitated until 1992, 20 years after the recommended time for repair?
It was worked upon in 1992. There was an expansion project that was completed in 1996. That added to the quantity of water supplied from Asejire. Before the expansion project, the capacity was around 82million litres per day while after the project in 1996, it rose to 186 million litres per day. Till date, that is what we have. We are just carrying out maintenance work.
What is the current situation at these water schemes now because many are complaining that there is no public water?
Let me tell you the situation of those plants in those 14 water schemes. For Asejire which is supposed to be operating at 100 per cent but now operates 80 percent, its capacity utilisation functionality at the moment is just 29 per cent. This is because of some challenges confronting the waterworks. Some equipment like filter media are out of place. They are already spent and not useful again. That’s why the Asejire waterworks has only 29 per cent capacity utilisation. The filter media were installed about twenty-four years ago.
Another one is Eleyele waterworks; the capacity utilisation is 25.9 per cent. The reason for this is the ongoing work by the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project at the scheme. This has denied us the opportunity to abstract enough water from the dam. As at last week, we could only abstract 50 per cent of water needed from the dam, that is really affecting us. According to a meeting which we held last week, the project should be completed by March, 2020. Probably after March or April this year, the capacity utilisation here will improve to around 80 per cent as usual.
Another problem is the issue of electricity. At the moment, we owe the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) N35 million for Asejire while we owe N6 million on Eleyele dam, which is the reason we were disconnected. The total amount we owe IBEDC in all waterworks in Oyo State as at November last year is N45million. What we always do is to appeal to IBEDC officials that we would pay so that people will not suffer. This is another major reason people have not been enjoying potable water since last year; it’s because IBEDC disconnected us from their services in Asejire and Eleyele, hence, the pipelines are dry in Ibadan metropolis. Where we operate at the moment, we just use power generating sets as a palliative measure.
Is that the only problem?
We also have distribution problem. When we produced and released water from Agodi booster station, they asked us to shut down.
In 2017, we had a burst at Dugbe, opposite SARS. That burst was so much that we were forced to shut down for about three weeks before we overcame the problem. The requests for shutdown as a result of bursts in Ibadan metropolis also brought down the capacity utilisation to 29 per cent. This is because the pipes in the metropolis are old; they are due for replacements.
What is the lifespan of these pipes?
We have ductile iron pipes, steel pipes, asbestos cement pipes, cast iron pipes, UPVC pipes, among others. Asbestos cement pipes can last for 50 years depending on their classes. We have classes A, B, C and D. Class D is the strongest of all the classes. Secondly, when we start pumping, the first ports of call are Ikire and Apomu in Osun State; then Olukeye, Osegere, Egbeda, Ogungbade axis, Alakia, Old Ife road before it gets to our two biggest reservoirs at Agodi Booster Station. In addition, we have another reservoir at Osegere from where water is released by gravity to Erunmu Booster Station. From there, the water is lifted on line to 1,700,000 litres capacity reservoir at Lalupon.
Is there any relationship between your corporation and road contractors, especially whenever they embark on constructions?
This is supposed to be but often they don’t tell us. For the rehabilitation and dualisation of roads, we were contacted. The Ministry of Works and Transport supervised the contractors. They called us to make estimate for relocation of the pipes, but when the project commenced, they didn’t comply and also don’t usually relocate the pipes on time after the construction. As I am talking to you now, many of our customers have been cut off from supply. What we are trying to do is to find a means to come up with a temporary measure. From Idi-Ape to Bashorun, Iwo-road, Old Ife road, Adegbayi, about 30,000 of our customers in Ibadan had been cut off. Also, Oritamerin, Beere were also cut off.
Is there any solution to these numerous challenges?
There are solutions. The first is that if the outstanding amount owing IBEDC can be paid, they will reconnect us, then we will work on the disconnected pipelines to serve those that have been cut off from our services as a result of road construction.
When should we expect this?
When we produce at Asejire, if we’re connected today and we start pumping, it will take about five days for water to get to Ibadan. This is because the line is already dry since we have not been pumping for a long time. As I said earlier, If we start pumping, the first port of call is Ikire/Apomu to Osegere village, from there to Erunmu, Olukeye, Fasade, Egbeda township, Ogungbade axis, Aritete, Alakia, Badeku to Old Ife road, Agodi booster station. From this, the line will build up. If the line is not dry, between seven hours, water gets to Ibadan.