(Credit: TrichopCMU)

Access to potable drinking water continues to be a major challenge to most rural communities across the country. In the Oti region, despite various efforts by the government through the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), residents continue to long for potable water in most rural communities.

Residents at Sibi in the Nkwanta North district in the Oti region are on SOS call to government, groups and individuals to come to their aid to help provide potable water. The current dire situation is that residents would have to dig around a stinking dirty-brown stagnant water, wait for it to gather for collection.

This is done in turns until all who have come to collect water are served. One teenage resident, Mary said since they came on vacation about two months ago, access to potable water has been a challenge.

“Since we vacated las t three months, we have no water to drink. We find it difficult to go to Damanko and (Kpassa) to go and fetch water. This one, we are pleading, you people should help us.

“Look at how our people are suffering; we come to sit here (from) morning we will not have water to drink. Look at this water, very dirty and we are going to drink. You people should help us,” she added.

The residents argue that their only hope is a dugout constructed by their fathers in the 1960s but also under siege by herds of cattle in the area for want of water. They want the government to consider the dugout for the one-district-one dam project so that it can be constructed well and serve the growing numbers.

“This dugout has been dug since 1960s, our fathers’ time. I would plead with the government to come to our aid if they can convert it to a dam”.

Residents say the prevailing situation has affected every aspect of their lives. The dire situation has affected education, health and even religious activities in the area as Muslims enter the holy month of Ramadan.

“As we don’t have water, the way we do our things (especially) during the harmattan season, we cannot. We cannot go to farm, women are now suffering, and some do not have time for their work. We have reached Ramadan now and there is no water in the mosque; so we would travel far away for water. Fasting too, you know we have to wake up early and do our cooking, so it has become (a) problem.

“How children would get water to bathe and go to school every morning is a major problem in our community here. Nurses and doctors in the area are also suffering it Now, we need help from the government.”

government workers posted to the place left after a short stay,

Residents also tell Joynews that, government workers posted to the place left after a short stay because of the water situation, those who can afford say they would have to travel to Kpassa or Damanko to get safe drinking water. They spend not less than 50gh a day.

The mostly peasant farming, residents say, is affecting their quality of life, most children turn the place into a playground as they wait for their turn to get water home.

According to them, two children died from snakebites while in search of water. The two chiefs who preside over the town have also added their voices to the call for potable water for their subjects.

One of the preventive nurses in the area said there is no water to wash their hands as they handle them in this Covid-19 era, adding that quality health delivery in the area has also been affected.

According to her, health workers would have to take their bath once a day for want of water, the situation she added is difficult for nursing mothers who would have to cook and attend to their babies with the very best of care.

“I am a preventive nurse, I have been here for the past four years and if I want to tell you my ordeal… sometimes, I would have to take my bath once a day. When it comes to our clients, we touch them like that because there is no water. How can you live in a community without water? We are begging government, NGOs to come to our aid,” she added.