A former General Manager of Imo State Water Development Agency, Engr Emeka Ugoanyawu, has warned that the state may experiences landslides because of the uncontrolled drilling of boreholes.
Ugoanyawu, who is the state Chairman of Nigerian Society of Engineers, spoke at a conference organised by Imo chapter of the society in Owerri on Thursday to mark the 2018 World Water Day.
According to him, there are over 2,000 boreholes in the capital city and with the way people are sinking boreholes uncontrollably all over the state, the land surface is seriously threatened.
Ugoanyanwu also said that much of the water used in the state was acidic and not good for human consumption.
He said government should restore public water facility and adopt nature based solutions to restore the damaged ecosystem.
Ugoanyanwu said that due to congestion, most boreholes in the state were sited close to soakaway pits, thereby making such water undrinkable.
“Most of the water we are drinking in Imo is acidic due to contamination and this factor has contributed to societal ill-health,” he warned.
Ugoanyawu also said a serious epidemic loomed in the state following the contamination of Worie and Otamiri rivers.
He said the drainages in Imo had been converted to debris dumps which would have direct effect on Otamiri and Worie rivers and contaminate them.
He expressed worry that the ecosystem had been destroyed and that the government was developing urban areas without provision for public water supply.
“It is very cheap to maintain our rivers through nature based solutions than to build dams, so government should restore our ecosystem and also demolish houses built around the green verge reserves.’’
Prof. Ngozi Okoreke of the department of Agriculture and Bio-Resources Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said the rise in population was among the causes of water scarcity.
Speaking on the topic “Natural Based Solution to Water Scarcity”, Okereke noted that the ground waters were contaminated and fresh water decreasing.
“We must go back to nature to balance the ecosystem.
“Our ground waters have been contaminated due to influx of debris in the rivers.
“Government should stabilise public water system now through privatisation and always maintain the green areas.
“We are test-running the surface water and everybody should be ready to face the consequences if we continue like this,” he said.
An NGO and health based organisation, New Life Association, said it had tested many table water types in Imo and found them to be unfit for use.
An official of the group, Rev. Sr. Maurine Azuoma said the test revealed that much of the borehole water was unsafe and highly acidic.