CALABAR, Cross River State, Nigeria (Sept. 22, 2023) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has transferred four boreholes rehabilitated under the Watershed Protection for Safe and Sustainable Water Supply activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to three communities in Cross River State. 

The transfer includes two solar-powered boreholes in the Aking and Old Netim communities and two hand-pump boreholes in the Nsan community, all in the Akamkpa local government area (LGA). Cross River, in southern Nigeria, is one of 36 states in the country.

Access to clean and safe drinking water is essential for the overall health, hygiene, and well-being of humans. With these rehabilitated boreholes, residents of the three communities will have reliable access to a safe water supply, reducing the risk of waterborne diseases and improving their overall quality of life.

The Watershed Protection for Safe and Sustainable Water Supply works in Cross River and Bauchi states and provides access to clean drinking water to 200,000 people in 137 communities by supporting community-driven watershed management and sanitation initiatives and safeguarding water sources through forest ecosystem conservation.

The Chief of Party of the USAID Watershed Protection for Safe and Sustainable Water Supply project and Deputy Country Director WCS, Dr. Inaoyom Imong, observed on the recent transfers: “The Wildlife Conservation Society and its implementing partner, Partners for Development, is happy to be handing over these borehole projects to the communities. Today is the first of many handover ceremonies we will have in the coming years.”

“Everyone is entitled to the basic social services that includes the provision of safe drinking water,” said USAID/Nigeria’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Advisor in the Economic Growth and Environment Office, Latif-ur Rahman. “USAID is partnering with the relevant stakeholders in Cross River state to provide safe and climate resilient drinking water that would not only provide safe drinking water to the community but would also contribute to the climate adaptation efforts.”  

According to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, based on 2020 data, 49 percent of the population of Cross River State does not have access to basic water supply services and 65 percent lack access to basic sanitation services. The USAID-supported Watershed Protection for Safe and Sustainable Water Supply activity will provide clean water to about 3,600 community members within the three communities and increase water security and resilience for 71 communities in four LGAs in Cross River State that depend on the Cross River Watershed.

Cross River is an agricultural state whose economy relies on fishing and crops such as cocoyam, rubber, palm oil, cashews and plantains. Key minor industries involve tourism in and around wildlife reserves.