Lagos State govt unveils agenda to boost water supply
The new plan, described as mid and long term measures was contained in a development plan recently launched by the state government.
Checks by The Guardian showed that only 30per cent of the population in the metropolis is being served by the public water utility through the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC), while the rest of the population gains access to water either from private boreholes or through other informal means.
From official perspective, growth in population, climate change, inadequate power supply enforcement, wastage by the public, results in 60 per cent unaccounted-for-water losses.
In one of the seminars organised by the stakeholders, it was observed that the exponential growth in the population of Lagos State in the last three decades, has contributed to the shortage in water supply in the state.
The state’s population is presently estimated at 20 million, and projected to be 29 million by 2020, and at that time Lagos will become the third largest megacity after Beijing and Mumbai.
“Water demand at that time will be 733 million gallons per day (mgd) from its current water demand of 540 million gallons per day”, according to the Managing Director, Lagos Water Corporation, Shayo Holloway, an engineer.
In his presentation ‘Imperatives of Potable Water Supply. Way Forward!’ Holloway said that Lagos needs a water supply strategy that includes plans and strategies to address all the gaps and challenges that the Lagos water supply system faces. Perhaps, it was this realisation that informed the unveiling of government’s mid and long-term water supply programme.
The programme was contained in the “Lagos Development Plan: 2012-2025”, where the policy objectives, target and general management of water supply were extensively articulated.
The policy statement indicated that the primary aim of government in view of prevailing situation is to provide potable water for all residents at sufficient quantity and at economic rates to cover operational costs, noting that water resources play a central role in economic growth and livelihoods of human existence.
On the policy objectives and outcomes, the state should provide sufficient and equitable potable water to all its citizens, as water supply projects should embrace technical innovation and environmental protection, which include aquifer recharge since there is greater focus on underground water abstraction.
Also, it was said that, the state should make the water sector more responsive to consumers’ needs and preferences, while tariffs introduced should be pro-poor and exhibit price differentiation for the different socio-economic groups in the state where necessary.
Besides, government should enhance the capacity of technical and managerial expertise in the sector, reduce public subsidies to the sector and insulate the sector from political interference.
Government’s policy and programmes are to ensure that the state injects large-scale investment into the sector and brings out new strategies to access private capital markets for meeting its targets.
On the quality of water being produced by the corporation, the Group Managing Director stated that water from their water works usually undergoes laboratory analysis to ensure that quality meets the World Health Organization (WHO) standard prior to discharging into the pipe network.
“However, quality may be compromised by illegal long service connections in some areas by members of the public seeking water from distant water mains as these connections pass through drains to avoid damage by vehicular traffic.
“To arrest this challenge, LWC is rapidly expanding water mains in various areas, giving priority to areas with high concentration of long service connections. With this intervention, customers can lawfully take service connections directly from the frontage of their properties.
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