Imo State Water and Sewerage Corporation has warned that Otamiri River, the main source of potable water to Owerri, may dry up, if residents of the capital city continue to pollute it.
The General Manager (GM), Emeka Ugoanyanwu, stated, at the weekend, that the residents dump refuse, defecate, bury corpses and construct soak-away pit around the river.
Also, the World Bank would start a project to provide safe water for Imo citizens by January. Ugoanyanwu disclosed this in Owerri, during a roundtable dialogue organised by Open Arms Initiative for Sustainable Development, with three monarchs from five autonomous communities in Owerri municipality in attendance. He regretted that the Urban Renewal programme of then Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration witnessed destruction of pipelines laid in the city, making it difficult for tap water to run into the homes of different parts of the city.
Commending the Executive Director of Open Arms Initiative, Mrs. Juliet Okeiyi, for the field visit and strategic dialogue, the GM regretted that Otamiri Water Scheme, which was constructed 40 years ago, during the administration of the late Sam Mbakwe, was going through pollution.
He informed that 60 million litres were required to serve at 20,000 litres per person, with projection of 1.5 million per day by 2025.
The scheme can provide 500,000 litres, serving 350,000 residents simultaneously. Ugoanyanwu appealed to the monarchs – Eze Possible Uche of Umuonyeche Autonomous Community, Eze Clinton Uboegbulam-Nze (Umuororonjo) and Eze Theophilus Uba (Umuoyima) – to discourage residents from such acts, through public enlightenment campaigns.
His words: “I expect Owerri people to take ownership of your rivers and start protecting them. Already, Okatankwo River is gone. Nworie and Otamiri are going. Start shouting against that. I want you, our traditional rulers, to let your people know. People have built houses on our waterways, throwing wastes in our rivers, constructing soakaways, burying near the rivers. This is not good.”
However, the monarchs lamented that they were not carried along in the process of rehabilitating the Otamiri Water Scheme in Owerri, noting that they donated the land for the scheme more than 40 years ago.
Okeiyi added that the dialogue was designed to resolve pending misinformation and disinformation for mutual understanding between the corporation and the host communities in the quest to provide safe water.