Massive renovation and construction of water and sanitation projects in Port Harcourt and Obio Akpor local government areas of Rivers state is set to gulp about $328 million declares the state government.

The Rivers State Government has put the cost of the proposed Port Harcourt Water and Sanitation Project at $328 million (which is approximately N127.2billion at the current exchange rate).

The state Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Dr. Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, who disclosed this at a briefing in Port Harcourt to mark the 2020 World Water Day celebration, said the Rivers State Government will contribute $48million to the project, World Bank $80million while the African Development Bank (AfDB) will contribute $200million.

Gogo-Jaja said the project, which will soon be awarded, will involve the rehabilitation and upgrading of existing water facilities in Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas.

The commissioner said the project, when completed, will create employment opportunities for the people, provide fresh and clean water to inhabitants of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor as well as improve the hygienic condition of the city through the eradication of open defecation.

He said the bidding for the project by reputable international companies was in its fifth stage, adding that the Port Harcourt Water Corporation has received a letter of no objection from the African Development Bank (AfDB) on the project.

Similarly, Gogo-Jaja said that the ministry will soon embark on reforms of the water sector of the state, adding that the ministry was opening a website for the registration of all borehole owners in the state.

The commissioner, who said the registration was free of charge, said the exercise will enable the ministry to know the number of boreholes in the state as well as their areas of concentration.

Gogo-Jaja, who argued that some sachet water being sold on the streets is not good for drinking, said as a regulatory agency, the ministry will ensure that Rivers people get access to clean and freshwater.

He listed some completed and on-going water projects in the state to include the Okrika Island Water Scheme, which has been completed and commissioned, the on-going Odioku water project, solar water project at Ekereborokiro, Iloma, Minima, and the Ikuru Town water schemes.

The rest are, Kalaibiama water project, which is 80% completed, the Nkoro and Opobo water projects, Abonnema and Abissa water projects, amongst others.
He said the World Water Day, which has been celebrated since 1992, was to call attention to the importance of fresh and clean water.

The commissioner also called on communities where water projects are sited to protect them from vandalisation.