Kumbo is likely to witness the worst water crisis yet, if the circumstances that account for present water shortages are not addressed. The alarm bell was rung during a recent Water Open Day, which the Kumbo Water Authority, KWA, organised to educate the population on the water situation in Kumbo.
In a guided tour that took participants to the Kumbo Water Authority main tank, all were surprised to discover that most water reservoirs were empty. The scheme manager, Shey Justin Shiyntum, attributed the water crisis in Kumbo to climate change, which has brought about prolonged dry seasons and indiscriminate farming activities carried out at the water catchment area.
Weeks into the heart of the rainy season the water crisis which rocked Kumbo during the dry season is not yet over. The little quantity of water in the tank is being rationed to different parts of Kumbo to enable inhabitants have equal access to potable water. Some parts of Kumbo Town sometimes go for weeks or more without water.
Open Day activities continued at the Nso Palace courtyard with exposés and demonstration during which inhabitants learned how to manage water properly, beginning from the water source to avoid water contamination and reduction. A paper on the health risks water poses, which the Banso Baptist Hospital, BBH, medical staff presented, opened people’s minds to the importance of drinking clean water.
To redress the prevailing water crisis in Kumbo Canadian experts Vincent Suffoleta and Jennifer Kirkhem presently working with the Kumbo Water Authority, advised that the Kumbo population be constantly sensitised to the importance of proper water management. The Board of Directors chairman, Edward Tav Lailam, called for a collective effort from Kumbo inhabitants to manage water properly, while requesting the scheme be jealously sustained for future generations.
An additional water catchment scheme, Kumbo Water Authority officials explained, is another strategy to combat the high water-crises levels. The Yeh Lemnyang Women’s Group was commended on protecting water catchment areas.
His Royal Majesty Sehm Mbinglo II of Nso expressed disappointment at the poor turn out of his subjects during the occasion which he considered important to his fondom. He decried attempts from some people to associate the Kumbo water scheme to a particular party, saying it is meant for the entire Kumbo community. He welcomed small-scale water projects which different quarters in Nso are undertaking and encouraged people to be development-oriented in whatever they do.
Bui Senior Divisional Officer’s representative, Ibrahim Shweibu, prescribed collective efforts in ensuring the continuous flow of water in Kumbo. He denounced the rampant planting of eucalyptus trees which suck up much water from the ground, saying the trees are planted for selfish economic reasons. Due to prevailing crises at the catchment area between farmers and water authorities, he advised KWA authorities to take legal measures and report cases of encroaching farms on the catchment area for quick sanctions to be taken.
The Kumbo water scheme is the initiative of an illustrious son of Nso, Professor Bernard Nsokiki Fonlon of blessed memory, who by virtue of his friendship in the 70s with the Canadian Prime Minister, Dr. Pierre Elliot Teudeau, won the project for his people. Since then the scheme’s management has changed hands from the Ministry of Mines and Water, through the National Water Corporation, SNEC, to the Kumbo Water Authority, KWA.
It is the lone community treated water scheme in the Northwest Region. Since Kumbo Water Authority came to the scheme’s helm in 1991, it has been recording successes thanks to the partnership between the Kumbo Council, which oversees the scheme, Canadians, the Banso Baptist Hospital and Shisong St. Elizabeth General Hospital, which ensure water quality control and the Fon of Nso, who is the project’s patron.