When a regional water supply scheme was approved by the Federal Government and work began, hopes were high in some communities in two local government areas of Delta State, one of the oil producing states in Nigeria.

They have no boreholes or any major source of water. The communities that have streams go through pains to get to those streams which are usually far away from the town.

If it was possible for the communities to generate their own water, most of them would have embarked on such projects but getting water in most of these communities is almost as tough as quizzing water out of a rock.

NDDC water scheme in Delta

Otulu, Ubulu Okiti, Issele Uku, Onicha Ugbo, all within Aniocha North and South Local Government Areas and environs were expectant that water would one day gush out from taps that were never installed.

The project was approved by the Presidency to be handled by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) but when Bounce News visited the site, the project had no sign that it was still 'work in progress'.

Between Ubulu Okiti and Otulu was one of the interjections that the water would have been stored to ensure it could go through a hill in Ubulu Okiti area called Ngbada.

A big tank and a small building without roof but with a light bulb, showing that electrical works may have been concluded, was all Bounce News saw.

It had been abandoned.

NDDC water scheme

In the centre of Ubulu Okiti town, near a cemetery used by St Paul's Anglican Church, is another tank that must have become rusty inside because no drop of water had managed to reach that tank since the project began.

Ubulu Okiti is under Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, but the community’s water issue is unique.

There is a story told by dwellers about a deity chasing a river away from that community about two centuries ago and many dwellers have linked failed efforts to get water out of the community’s soil to the deity’s decision.

The deity called Ezemu had chased a river out of Ubulu Okiti after he discovered the river could kill natives, one of the dwellers, Mr Godfrey Ilomechine told Bounce News.

The river had moved away and had left a drop of water which formed a lake called Okiti Mili, residents told bounce news.

Mr Wire Nwanade, a member of a family in Umu Idu Quarters that had made early efforts to get water in the community told Bounce News that the story about the deity chasing a river away was true. He said the canal through which the river left the community was behind the Anglican church near the NNDC water scheme site within the site.

Wire Nwanade

He said his father’s well, which was over 250 feet deep, dried up years after it was dug.

On the difficulty in getting water in the community, however, he said he was not sure the deity could have caused it but said he was told by his parents that the deity had great diabolical powers.

He, however, suggested that the project had failed because the NDDC had not considered the best strategy.

"They tried to pump water to the tank near the church but there was no way water would climb that hill at Ngbada.

"They should have raised the tank near Otulu high enough and run pipes overhead to Okiti. That way they will bypass the hill in Ngbada,” he said, optimistic that overhead piping was the solution.

Well of water

The NDDC project has been abandoned and there are no signs that the communities that are to benefit from the scheme would one day move away from harvesting rain water into wells and subsequently pumping it into tanks to getting tap water from the NDDC project.