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Water is a colourless, tasteless, and odourless liquid at room temperature. It is a substance composed of the chemical elements hydrogen and oxygen and existing in gaseous, liquid, and solid states. One of its most important properties is its ability to dissolve many other substances. The versatility of water as a solvent is essential to water dependent livelihoods. Water supply was once in abundance in Enugu urban but the coming of the military into government and its lackadaisical attitudes to public investments literally saw to the deterioration of water infrastructures in Enugu urban. There was financial challenge as a result of declining investment both from the government and the users. This negatively affected staff training, maintenance of the water schemes and expansion to match the growing population, therefore, the sustainability imperative suffers. In addition to the above, the civil society is not up and doing in ensuring the sustainability of water supply schemes in Enugu urban. By the use of existing literature and research, this work examines the factors affecting sustainability of water supply in Enugu. It is well understood that securing
adequate water for consumption is essential for human survival. Less obvious is the hidden role water plays in all aspects of livelihoods’ productive activities. The paper finds that successive governments in Nigeria have abdicated their responsibilities to the citizens by not investing enough resources in the sustainability of potable water supply schemes in Enugu urban. Secondly, there have been insufficient corresponding efforts by the users to pay their water rates because there is no reliable water flow. The fixed water rate as is presently the case in Enugu urban is to the detriment of the water supply schemes. The civil society is weak to their responsibilities in ensuring that both the government and the users fulfill their own investment obligations. Also, continuous staff training will boost the sustainability of the new water schemes in Enugu urban. Lastly, the non sustainability of the new water schemes will not have adverse implications on these water based livelihoods. Based on this premise,
this paper concludes that investment is a two way thing, from the government and from the users. It is important that water supply be sustained in order to boost the livelihood activities to provide the services the public demands. There is, therefore, an urgent need for Enugu State Water Corporation to re-design the water rate bill as to ensure total cost recovery and sustainable use of water. The funds so recovered if judiciously harnessed will ensure the sustainability of both the water schemes and the capacity building of the managers of these schemes. This will not only increase the productivity of the users, thereby increasing their wealth but also the wealth of the nation.


1.1 Background of the Study

Though colourless, tasteless, and odourless at room temperature, water is vital to life (Nathanson, 2008). Hence the saying that “water is life” is synchronous to the enormous importance of water because next to air, water is the most important need of man. Therefore, it is pertinent and desirable that man harness this natural endowment properly for maximum utilization and sustainability because water is an essential input to achieve some desired outcomes, including health, education and income (United Nations, 2003).

Sustainable development is heavily dependent on sustainable water availability. The United Nations (UN) says individuals need five litres of water a day simply to survive in a moderate climate, and at least 50 litres a day for drinking and cooking, bathing and sanitation. Consequently, water is recognized as a human right by the UN General Assembly (United Nations, 2010). The resolution taken in support of this was passed on the 28th of July 2010 with 122 nations voting in favour.

However, often times government policies are not adhered to during implementations, so ‘rights in law’ are not ‘rights in reality’. Nevertheless, water is the key to success for all the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on health, education, agriculture, and crucially on the sustainability of the environment. Sustainability of potable water is crucial to eradicating poverty and achieving development goals.
According to the World Water Development Report (WWDR, 2011), problems of poverty are inextricably linked with those of water – its availability, its proximity, its quantity and its quality. The UN MDGs among its eight point agenda in 2000 set the deadline of 2015 for halving the percentage of persons without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation and the Millennium Development Goal seven calls on governments to ensure environmental sustainability.

Many countries have used the MDG’s as a standard for their policy and planning processes. However, the chances of achieving the Millennium Development Goals to halve the proportion of people without access to safe water by 2015 will be seriously lowered unless levels of sustainability can be greatly improved. But then, most discussions on domestic water is concerned with human consumption and its use as a part of daily household requirements for cooking, bathing, cleaning, washing, drinking and other domestic needs. Likewise, water supply improvements and sustainability in the water sector development in urban areas remains dominated by health-focused approaches, based on the premise that more and better water supply can help to improve the health of individuals.

However, the benefits of improved water supply and sustainability extend far beyond basic health impacts. Water is centrally important, not just for basic human consumption, but for a wide range of different livelihood activities such as fishery, laundry, block moulding, agriculture, car washing, production of food, oils, soap, detergents, food vending, water vending, hairdressing etc. It is important that water supply be sustained in order to boost the water-dependent livelihood activities, to provide the services the public demands.
Water as a natural asset has an economic value and, therefore, is a productive good that has costs attached in its production and disposal. The problem in most urban areas is not only having access to potable water, but rather its sustainability. This leads to the concept of ‘secure water’. This concept usefully directs attention to the availability as well as the sustainability of water supply arrangements (Secure Water, 2003). With the understanding of the role water plays in supporting livelihoods, it becomes much easier to predict the effects of non sustainability of water schemes on different groups of livelihoods that require water interventions. It is important to identify those factors that can affect the sustainability of potable water supply and harness them positively.

The Unicef and World Health Organization (2011: 46) in their thematic report on Drinking Water noted lack of technical skills and lack of sustained financing mechanisms for recurrent costs amongst others as factors that often compromised the sustainability of improved drinking water sources. Sustainability today invariably depends upon several factors among which falls in financial responsibility for the schemes, continuous training for the operators and active civil society not a dormant one among others.
Therefore, the provision and sustainability of adequate water supply that will serve the teaming population in the Enugu urban districts requires lots of strategies and measures ranging from adequate funding from both the users and government, to efficient training of the staff of Enugu State Water Corporation (ENSWC), monitoring of governance by the civil society and sustainability consciousness among others. Both the State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS) and the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) lay emphasis on ensuring solid foundation for sustainable poverty reduction, employment generation, wealth creation and value re-orientation (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004:10).

The fact that poverty is a ravaging economic and social phenomenon that manifest in the inability of people to acquire the necessities of life like water needed for decent living, NEEDS and SEEDS particularly recognized the importance of managing water resources in an integrated and sustainable manner.


1.2 Brief History of Enugu and Enugu Water Schemes Enugu is the city-capital of Enugu State in South-Eastern Nigeria, situated in the forest
Savannah Region with moderate rainfall and ever green vegetation. Despite its name, meaning hill top in the Igbo language, Enugu lies at the foot of an escarpment and not a hill. It is located in the Cross River basin and the Benue trough (Wikipedia, 2011a).
Enugu gained its urban status in 1917. Certain events and occurrences exploded the population in Enugu. Events associated with the development of the mining and railway sectors in Enugu kick-balled the population growth.

In 1929, when Enugu became an administrative headquarter for the Southern Province under the post-World War I constitutions, the number of government departments represented in the town increased tremendously. This development attracted diverse migrants for the many opportunities thus created. The Dewhurst Census conducted in 1945 put Enugu’s population at 35,000. From 1949 onward, a period during which the town was the capital of the Eastern Region of Nigeria, the emerging city took a new immigration turn; the Secretariat and the adjoining offices were extended and modernized; various other new government buildings were erected.
The 1953 census figures show that in eight years (since 1945), the population in Enugu had increased from 35,000 to 63,000, mainly due to the increase in government activities. On 27 May 1967, Enugu was again made the capital of the new East Central state. In 1976, Enugu became the capital of the old Anambra state and presently the capital of Enugu state in 1991. Each creation of a new state making Enugu the capital brought with it large influx of people to Enugu much higher than its exodus of population. Enugu is the oldest urban area in the Igbo-speaking world with estimated population of 722,664 according to the 2006 Nigerian census with a projected growth of 3% per annum.
Enugu urban covers three local government areas: Enugu East, Enugu North and Enugu South. Enugu has good soil-land and climatic conditions all year round, sitting at about 223 metres (732 ft) above sea level. Is rich in aquifers and streams with well-drained soil during its rainy seasons, hence the major source water schemes in Enugu urban are based on ground water. The average annual rainfall in Enugu is around 2,000 millimetres (79 in), which arrives intermittently and becomes very heavy during the rainy season and this keeps on recharging the aquifers.
Enugu amongst few other towns like Lagos, Calabar, Kano, Ibadan, Abeokuta, and Ijebu Ode were the early beneficiaries of public water supply in Nigeria early last century. The schemes were maintained with revenue from water rate collection with virtually no operational subvention from the government. With the creation of Regional Governments in 1950s, the financial and technical responsibilities for developing new water schemes were taken over by the Regional Governments. However, with the growing demand and increasing cost, the regions were requested in the 1960s to set up independent bodies i.e. Water Corporations/Boards to develop, operate and manage the water supply undertakings.
The Federal Government, in 1976, got involved in water supply when the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the eleven River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) were created to manage the water resources of the country and to provide bulk water, primarily for irrigation and potable water supply. To underscore the importance of water, the Federal Government once again approved a National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy in the year 2000; and the Enugu State Government established a full-fledged Ministry of Water Resources (MWR), which is charged with the sole responsibility of ensuring that potable water is consistently available to all residents in Enugu state.

The MWR has two umbrellas, the Enugu State Water Corporation (ENSWC) and the State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA). In order to make for better and more efficient services delivery in the provision of regular and adequate potable water in the urban districts, the ENSWC was charged to concentrate on the production and distribution of urban water while RUWASA pays more attention on rural water supply.
At the highest administrative level in the Enugu State Water Corporation is the Chairman of the Board appointed by the Governor, followed by the Managing Director equally appointed by the Governor. All together there are ten Board members. Five of these were appointed externally popularly known as “from the outside” by the Governor, while four are heads of the various Units/Departments. The other person is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry. The Enugu State Water Corporation has four major departments – Engineering, Commercial, Administration and Finance. All the heads of the departments are directly responsible to the Managing Director of the company.
By every indication, the state is rich in water resources and so has no need of recycling its water. The Enugu urban water supply relies on a network of reservoirs and treatment plants that receive water from Iva, Ajalli-Owa and Oji River water schemes. There are all together five different water supply schemes to Enugu residents commissioned between 1924 and 2004 and the accompanying distribution network was laid at various times between 1924 and 1985. They are:- Iva Water Supply Scheme: The first water scheme is Iva, which was based on a two spring intakes (grotto) constructed in 1924, and with a daily production of 2,500m3/day.

The Iva scheme was subsequently upgraded in 1952, 1956 and 1962 with the addition of stream intakes, sedimentation, filtration and disinfection units. The additions increased the daily output to 4,500m3/d. Owing to dilapidation of infrastructure, the scheme now produces only about 2,500m3/d, utilizing only the original spring intakes, but without filtration and disinfections. It supplies water to the Government Reserved Area (GRA), and the earliest built-up settlements of Enugu. The scheme is reliable since it functions mainly by gravity, and is usually the only source of drinking water then when the Ajalli-Owa water scheme is not functional as consequence of power outages or other problems. Rehabilitation of this Scheme to start operating maximally is part of the World Bank Assisted Projects currently going on.
Ekulu Water Supply Scheme: The scheme was the second water supply scheme for Enugu constructed in 1956, and together with Iva, met the needs of the metropolis, until the completion of Ajalli-Owa water supply scheme in 1985. The scheme was abandoned following the completion of Ajalli-Owa owing to high operation and maintenance cost in relation to the low production of 16,000m3/d. The water has lots of minerals and is very high in iron and potassium making the treatment process financially sapping.

As such, the State Water Corporation does not consider it profitable to restore the Ekulu scheme. Ninth Mile Water Supply Crash Program Scheme: The Borehole scheme was commissioned in 1982 during the construction of the Ajalli-Owa Water Works. It was initiated as an emergency program to augment the water production from Iva and Ekulu water works until the completion of the Ajalli-Owa scheme. The total design capacity was 28,000m3/d with 12 numbers of Boreholes. None of the boreholes is presently producing water.

Efforts made by the State Government some years ago to refurbish the facilities did not yield any positive result as there were some contractual problems with the RCC Construction and the rehabilitation was abandoned.Ajalli Water Scheme: Popularly called Ajalli-Owa Scheme to differentiate the name from Ajalli which is a town in Orumba LGA of Anambra State. This scheme was completed and commissioned in December 1985, with an overall design capacity of 77,000m3/d based on 24 hrs pumping. It is a spring water like Iva water scheme. The Ajalli-Owa scheme  as rehabilitated in 1998 to about 56,000m3/d production under the National Water Rehabilitation Project.

However, reported average production in 2002 was 21,958m3/d. Present production is 68% of its expected capacity due to frequent pump breakdown and power failure. However, the scheme is presently being rehabilitated under the 2nd National Urban Water Schemes by the World Bank Assistance to its installed capacity. Oji River Water Supply Scheme: The Federal Government of Nigeria under the National Water Supply and Sanitation Program constructed a Borehole Water Supply Project, based on ground water abstraction from the Oji River bed.

This also included the construction of treatment facilities, booster stations, and DN 600 ductile iron pipeline over a distance of 21.5km from Oji into the Nsude twin tanks located along the Ajalli-Owa transmission main. The design capacity of the scheme is 50,000m3/day. This was commissioned in 2004. Oji River borehole is just about 150m deep because the location is highly rich in aquifer. It does not require pumping machine to pump out the water. It operates on gravity. However, its present production capacity is about 23,000m3/day, due to under sized cablings and other malfunctioning. Efforts are presently being geared towards rehabilitating this scheme to its installed capacity.
There are seven (7) storage reservoirs located near or within the town (see table below). All the reservoirs from Nsude (Twin tank) to Milikin Hill and to the North East reservoir receive water by gravity. Other reservoirs constructed at the booster stations within the town facilitate distribution by pumping to the consumers.

The distribution network consists of about 331,601m of mainly A/C pipelines that are now dilapidated as evidenced by the frequent pipelines bursts. The production of these Asbestos Cement pipes otherwise known as A/C pipes were cement-based with a life span of about 15yrs. It is injurious to health because it emits lead. However, these pipelines are at present being rapidly replaced with either ductile iron (D.I.) pipes or UPVC pipes, both are plastics-based and more durable.

The UPVC pipes lasts for 25 yrs or more while ductile iron lasts more than 50yrs. The plastic pipes are lightweight and are also corrosion-resistant, and their smoothness provides good hydraulic characteristics. The replacement of the A/C pipes is under the Enugu Metropolitan Pipeline Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme. The two rehabilitation programmes going on simultaneously– pipelines and Water Schemes are under the combined efforts of the Enugu State Government and the World Bank (I.D.A.) Assistance.

Distribution Storage Reservoirs


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