Acute water scarcity has hit Lokoja and its environs following the shutdown of the greater Lokoja water treatment plant by the state government since March 27.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited some areas of the city on Monday reports that the scarcity affected both residential and commercial premises.
NAN reports that the waterworks built at a cost of N12 billion has the capacity to treat and reticulate 600 million litres of water per day to residents of Lokoja and its environs.
Also, the scarcity has affected the production and distribution of sachet (pure water) as many of the manufacturers used to source their water from the public waterworks.
Many of the manufacturers have closed shops while few still in production have increased the price from N100 per bag to N120 per bag.
Some residents were also observed to have started patronising commercial water hawkers popularly called “mairuwa.”
Consequently, a cart of 12 cans of 25-litre volume which was selling for N300 now sells for N350.
However, people living in native areas of Kabawa, Madabo, Augwar Kura, Cantonment, Old Market and others are now sourcing water directly from River Niger.
Speaking on the development, the Public Relations Officer in the state Ministry of Water Resources, Musa Usman, said that the water treatment plant was shut down as a result of electro-mechanical problems.
According to him, four of the six heavy high lift pumps at the plant are down while there is also a major burst on the main supply line.
He said that all the technical hands in the ministry and the waterworks had been deployed to the plant to work on the problems.
When asked when normal water supply would be restored, Mr Usman said it was difficult to give a specific date but gave the assurance that it would be very soon.
He said that the government had provided adequate funds for the operation and maintenance of the water plant.