Scarcity of water has continued to hit hard on residents of Enugu metropolis as they struggle to get daily supply from water vendors at exorbitant price.

Despite being one of the three basic needs of man, water has stopped running in the coal city for about two months now.

This follows sudden cut in public water supply by the Enugu State Water Corporation.

The situation has plunged many individuals and families into difficulties as they undergo harrowing experience in their search for the essential commodity.

Mrs. Juliana Agbo, of Ben Mbamalu Crescent, off Achara Layout Enugu, laments that many people now rely on well water as the easiest alternative, which she also notes is not even easy to come by.

“And this time is dry season when we need water most. In our own area not everybody has well; people used to buy water from the well and when some people go to another place to fetch water from the well, they will be quarreling and having problem with the people who own the well. So let government help us,” Mrs. Agbo pleaded.

For Mr. Ifeanyi Udeji, the situation does not only make children to go late to school as they spend so much time in the morning searching for places to fetch water, it also endangers their lives.

“It’s so sad that in Enugu, the old Eastern Regional headquarters, you see people wonder about looking for water upon years of development.

“The other day, vehicles wanted to knock down some children because they were wondering in the streets in the morning looking for where to buy water for them to bathe and go to school,” Mr. Udeji complained.

Another resident, Mrs. Nneka Chukwu cries out that the development has subjected people to untold hardship as they part with their meager resources to buy water from vendors.

“Most Wells have dried, even if you see where to get water, it is very costly. Before we buy a jerrycan for #50.00, now it is #100.00. Not everybody can afford it.

“And you know dust is too much now and you cannot clean because you will be looking for water to drink or to cook, you cannot wash clothes because you cannot afford to buy water for such washing,” Mrs. Chukwu complained.

Similarly, an aggrieved mother, Mrs. Nneka Orjiako condemns the exorbitant cost of the commodity by water tanker drivers who get water from boreholes at the 9th Mile Corner Ngwo, near Enugu.

“Like my own tank is 750 litres and before now I used to fill it for #4000.00. I called tanker to refill my tank and he told me the price was #7000.00, which I don’t have. I have been walking around to go and fetch water, I couldn’t make it,” the woman lamented.

But do landlords and other property owner in Enugu not sink water boreholes fore their tenants and ease accessibility to clean water as obtainable in other southeast cities?

An engineer, Mr. Malachy Izuchukwu explains that massive coal deposits in Enugu is a major obstacle.

According to Mr. Izuchukwu many people who tried and still make efforts to drill water in Enugu have not succeeded as they encounter large deposit of coal.

“They cannot even get water because coal covers the whole land space and is deeply deposited in Enugu and any water you get will not be good at all. This is why Enugu is called the Coal City,” Mr. Izuchukwu explained.

In a reaction, a public health expert, Dr. Chikelue Obasi says there are health implications of water scarcity, especially this period of Coronavirus disease.

“People actually get dehydrated when they do not see water to consume and the person could actually dies because water constitutes 90% of fluid in the body system.

“Again when you consume contaminated and infected water, you experience water borne diseases, including diarrhea, typhoid Fever, cholera, hepatitis A, dysentery and so on.

“Shortage of water on the skin can give people like scabies, fugal infections, simple eczema when the cloth is not properly washed.

“This era of COVID, you know that one of the greatest things we say is wash your hand regularly with running water. And can’t do that if there is no water and that’s a problem because we stress improved personal hygiene,” Dr. Obasi noted.

Meanwhile in an interview, the Head Public Relations (PRO), Enugu State Water Corporation, Mr. Romanus Ugwu, blames electrical faults at the Oji and Ajali-Owa water schemes for the cut in public water supply.

“We have a power problem at the Great Enugu Water Scheme at Ajali-Owa and Enugu Augmentation Water Scheme at Oji River. This present issue affects most part of Enugu Urban except some parts of GRA that are using I a Head Works here that does not need electricity to pump it’s water.

“Meanwhile the Enugu Water Corporation and EEDC are working round the corner to ensure that the problem is resolved. We are asking Enugu residents to exercise patience with us,” the PRO pleaded.

Mr. Ugwu while assuring Enugu residents, who get public water supply, that the issues will be sorted out very soon, reveals that efforts are on to address poor reticulation of water to some parts of the coal city.

“Hopefully with the intervention of the World Bank under French Development Agency (AFD), they are almost overhauling everything about water.

They will change some pipes, they will change the pumps because the present pumps we are using were the one bought by the government of Jim Nwobodo around early 80s so they have overstayed their usefulness. Hopefully this new ones when they are installed and the rehabilitation work completed, the problem of water in Enugu will be a thing of the past,” Mr. Ugwu assured.

From the foregoing, what Enugu residents want is a quick resolution of all issues hindering public water supply to save them from the unpalatable experience they are passing through.