Gusau - Acute scarcity of water has hit Gusau, the Zamfara capital.
The scarcity had paralysed socio-economic activities in the state capital as many people, including women and children, trekked long distances in search of water.
The situation had forced many students to be absent from schools because they now spend more time searching for water from ponds, wells and other sources.
Similarly, most workers now go to work late as some of them had to follow their children to get water before setting out for work.
Malam Musa Lawali, a vulcaniser said, "my job requires water, but I cannot even get the one to drink, I am now contemplating to relocate.
"Most of my colleagues had since done so in the self-employed businesses and they had moved to areas where the government provides water," Lawali said.
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Meanwhile, water vendors are now making brisk business with a 25 -litre plastic container selling between N80 and N100 depending on the distance as against N10 or N15.
Reacting to the situation, an environmentalist, Malam Muhammad Murtala, cautioned people against using contaminated water to avert outbreak of water-borne diseases like cholera.
"The use of contaminated water is a threat to the lives of the people, especially pregnant women and children, hence, the people should boil such water before using it," Murtala advised.
The state Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Birnin-magaji, said the situation was caused by the silting of the Gusau barrage, which was the major source of water to the state capital.
Birnin-magaji, however, disclosed that the state government had awarded contract to de-silt the dam, assuring that water would be available in the capital as soon as the project was completed.