Federal government launches VLOM strategy for rural water supply

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By Joke Falaju

Plans to establish national fund for water, sanitation
The Federal Government has launched the national strategy for the implementation of Village Level Operation and Maintenance (VLOM) of rural water supply facilities to boost access to water in the rural areas. This is coming from the backdrop of a World Bank report that 40 per cent of water schemes in the country are not functional and 30-40 per cent of them fail in their first year of operation.

The document, prepared by UNICEF, European Union (EU) and UKAID indicated that the aim of VLOM was to ensure sustainability and ensure 100 per cent functionality of water supply facilities in all rural communities and also establish, operationalise an effective VLOM system in all the states and local councils across the country with a mandate for 100 per cent functionality of water points.

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, who launched the VLOM yesterday at a workshop on the implementation of the national action plan for the revitalisation of the water and sanitation sector, said the VLOM strategy was prepared as part of the sustainability efforts to ensure that access to adequate and equitable supply of safe drinking water in the rural areas is achieved.

According to him, “the strategy will not only enable us to put ownership of the facilities in the hands of the communities but have an institutional arrangement for their adequate operation and maintenance.”He said that the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) would implement VLOM document at the state level while the Federal Ministry of Water Resources would carry out the monitoring with support from development partners.

He further disclosed that to ensure implementation of the national action plan for the revitalisation of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector as launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, a National Co-ordination Office (NCO) to co-ordinate the implementation of the action plan had been set up.

He, therefore, urged the state governments to work with NCO in the implementation of the action plan in their states with the planned Sustainable Development Goal 6 targeted towards ensuring “leave no one behind.”

The minister also disclosed plans to establish National WASH Fund aimed towards mobilising available resources in line with the estimated expenditure to provide water and sanitation for all by 2030. Meanwhile, the World Bank Representative, Reshid Benshad, in his remark, pointed out that Nigeria WASH sector is in critical condition and requires immediate attention, lamenting that the sector had being neglected to alarming state of dilapidation.

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