Water scarcity is the lack of available water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a particular region. Water scarcity involves water stress, water deficits, and water crisis. Water scarcity is driven by two converging phenomena; that is the growing rate of fresh water use and the depletion of usable freshwater resources. Water scarcity can be as a result of two mechanisms. They are physical, which is also referred to as the absolute water scarcity and economic scarcity. Physical water scarcity is caused as a result of inadequate natural water resources and the economic water scarcity is caused by poor management of available water resources.
The University of Jos Senior Staff Quarters experiences both physical and economic phenomena. Most people have to go beyond their residences to get water. Only a few people residing at the UniJos Staff Quarters have the luxury of having a well or a borehole in the premises of their residence.
Most of the people interviewed buy their drinking water from water vendors because their wells have been contaminated or because they don’t trust that their boreholes were dug deep enough due to the fact that they have contracted typhoid and malaria from drinking the water.
The ones that cannot afford to buy drinking water in which the UniJos students enormously fall under this category, leave their health in the hands of chance.
It is no news that in the four, five or six years of a students stay in school, they contract typhoid and malaria several times which does not just keep them away from school for a long period of time thereby disrupting their academics , they miss out on the basic extracurricular activities which may also end up sabotaging their wholistic academic pursuit as such students tend to perform poorly in school.
Research has shown that the intake of contaminated water does not only cause typhoid and malaria but also causes other numerous waterborne diseases which include but are not limited to Guinea worm disease and Cholera. Amoebiasis (Traveller Diarrhea), Dysentery, Diarrhea, Hepatitis, Lead Poisoning, Polyomavirus infection, and many others are also caused by the intake of contaminated water.
All these diseases hamper students’ performance in school and this has over the years become an issue grossly talked about among students not just in the University’s Senior Staff Quarters but also in students hostels like the famous Abuja hostel, Naraguta hostel and Village hostel which water scarcity problem is almost becoming impossible to solve.
During an interview session conducted in the Senior Staff Quarters, many students made known their disgust over the scarcity of water in the Senior Staff Quarters.
Anyebe John Enenche, a 400 level student of Science and Technology Education said that there is a problem of scarcity of water in the Senior Staff Quarters, however, he mentioned that it is not as bad because of the availability of wells but also regretted that there is no pipe-borne water for people to drink.
“Here at the Senior Staff Quarters, there are water problems but it is not as bad though because we have wells but in the case of pipe-borne water, we do not have pipe-borne water here in the Staff Quarters. Sometimes, you see even lecturers loading up gallons of water in their vehicles going out to get water”.
When asked if the use of well water has affected his health, he said that it has, but he has gotten over it. He further stated that he always takes the basic treatments required to prevent the infection of some water-borne diseases.
According to him, due to financial issues, students have no choice than to drink what is available which the reason for previous health issues is.
“What choice do we have? If not for financial issues, we cannot keep on buying water; we should not be buying water. Where do they buy water? Only in this part of the country ” he said.
He further stated that he believes that there was pipe-borne water in the Senior Staff Quarters at some point but just like all things in Nigeria where the maintenance culture is bad, everything gets spoilt.
“Just like all things in Nigeria are government owned, they are hardly taken care of. I am sure there was water here at some point, but for poor maintenance, there is no sign of water around. I will blame the school for poor maintenance because there are no renovations and there is no maintenance”.
He admonished the school to use the funds internally generated to do something to rehabilitate the dilapidated structures and reduce the sufferings of the residents of the Senior Staff Quarters from water scarcity.
In another interview with a student, Naphtali Samuel who also resides in the senior staff quarters said that the water scarcity is mostly a problem at the beginning of the year in January.
He added that even with that, the well he gets his water from is a bit far from his place.
When asked if the water he uses has affected his health, he stated that he buys his drinking water as he will not want to take chances with his health. He went further to state that in situations when he does not have money to buy water, he boils his water which also consumes his resources.
“As a student, I have to think about my resources but even at that, I still have to boil my water which becomes a problem because it eats up my resources”.
He blamed both the school management and government for the scarcity of water in the Senior Staff Quarters.
Also, in another interview with Kim Timothy, a 100 Level student of General and Applied Psychology, he mentioned that the water reservoir in Senior Staff Quarters is just one, hence, not sufficient enough to solve the issue of water scarcity in the Staff Quarters.
He added that due to the insufficient pipe-borne water, he makes use of well water which has made him suffer from water-borne diseases like typhoid.
When asked how he does source for the water he makes use of, he reiterated that most times, he usually buys water when the tap water is not available. But in a situation when the two options are not available, he will just have to make use of the available water, that is, well-water.
He further counseled that “the UniJos management should do something to checkmate this issue as there are allocations given to the water board to supply water but I think they are not doing their work” he said.
Efforts to get the spokesperson of the Directorate of Physical Facilities to respond to the issue failed as staff are members of the non-academic striking unions.
REPORT BY: UGWUOKE KINGSLEY AND KATKUR DAVID NANTIP
PHOTO BY UGWUOKE KINGSLEY