Lagos state government needs $3.5bn to execute Water Master Plan

lagos-state-waterThe Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) will need 3.5 billion dollars to execute the Water Master Plan to construct additional large water schemes by 2020 to cover the state,

The former Managing Director, Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC), Mr. Shayo Holloway, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the current water production by the corporation stood at 210 million gallons per day (MGD).

According to him, this leaves a shortfall or deficit of 330million gallons per day, even if the total water assets available in the state run at 100 per cent efficiency.

He said that to address the current water demand and meet the projection of the near future, the corporation developed a Water Master Plan to construct additional large water schemes by 2020.

Holloway said that the plan would involve taking raw water from rivers and lagoons for treatment into potable water.

“This plan will take the state from its current 210 million gallons per day to 745 million gallons per day (MDG).

“The corporation will need $3.5 billion to execute the Water Master Plan.

“This is an investment which the state cannot solely undertake, as it will take it two-and-half years to fund, with every Naira inflow going into the water sector only.

“That is why the state seeks to partner with the private sector to accelerate the development of water infrastructure with private capital, to make water available,” he said.

He, however, said that the state government had commenced the implementation of the master plan, with the ongoing construction of Adiyan Phase 2, being funded by the state.

He said that when completed in 2016, it would add 70million gallons per day to the existing 210 million gallons per day.

Holloway said that the state government had also completed the Otta-Ikosi water works to serve 11 towns between Ikorodu and Epe.

He said the indiscriminate drilling of boreholes will stop once the water master plan was completed.

According to him, it is morally wrong to start enforcing the law on boreholes when majority of the areas do not have access to water from the mains.

“For now, the long-term goal of the master plan is to ensure water runs in front of houses, so that people will not need to take water three houses away from theirs.

“The Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, Office of Public Private Partnership, Lagos State Water Regulatory Agency and Lagos State Ministry of Justice, were involved in the process,” he said.

Holloway said that the master plan would address the current water deficit of 330 million gallons per day, and the about 29 million projected Lagos State population in 2020, with a water demand of 733 million gallons per day.

However, a water expert and member of the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Lagos Mainland Chapter, Mr Taofik Adeosun, said that potable water was scarce in the state.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that most areas outside the old Lagos relied 100 per cent on boreholes for water.

“Like in Jakande Estates (Low-Cost Housing Estates) almost all the houses have boreholes.

“Those that do not have boreholes depend on water vendors, who still buy from those selling water from their boreholes,” he said.

According to him, safety of the water from the boreholes depends on location.

Adeosun said that majority of the borehole water were good, but those that could afford them have water treatment plants too.

He said that the boreholes existed in the face of a lot of water projects in Lagos, but that the effectiveness of those projects was yet to be seen.

According to NAN survey, potable water supply to areas serviced by the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC), especially old Lagos has been efficient.

This does not mean that there are no occasional disruptions for maintenance or in the face of acute power failure and fuel scarcity.

Conversely, areas that have problems or yet to be connected to the water pipes rely mainly on boreholes or water vendors.

Water supply in most parts of Surulere is low due to the fact they derived their supply from the water board mains.

Most residential homes now depend on borehole water provided by individuals.

Water scarcity is more pronounced, due to the epileptic power supply from the power distribution companies coupled with the lingering fuel scarcity, being experienced in the state.

NAN checks indicate that the perennial water scarcity in Surulere Local Government Area, for instance, had forced many corporate and individual homes to source and provide water on their own.

The erratic power supply and the fuel scarcity had forced the water vendors in Ikate and Lawanson parts of the Local Government to increase the 25-litre keg of water from N20 and N30 to N50.

The water vendors attributed the hike in water price to the long hours the borehole operators stay on the fuel queue, a litre of which sells for between N150 and N200, as against the official price of N86.50.

A water operator, Mrs Idowu Berkly, said that she found it difficult to get fuel to power her generating set, to pump water for her business.

“To operate my water business, I have to source for petrol at the ‘black market’ for as much as N300 a litre to pump water for my customers in the area.

“Water supply from the state water corporation is no longer available; so, most residents, who do not have boreholes in their houses, now resort to buying water.

A water vendor, Malam Abdullahi Shuaib, said that the price of the commodity had increased, due to the fuel shortage and epileptic power supply in most parts of the state.

“I used to buy a gallon of water for N5, but now, we buy it for N20; and I have to sell it for N30 or N50 due to the stress involved.

“I push a truck of 10 gallons of water, and I also hire the truck, I must also make some gain too,” he said.

Mr Oladimeji Muse, General Secretary, Nigeria Water and Sanitation Association (NIWASA), called on the state government to increase the supply of potable water and distribution network.

Muse said that the expansion and distribution of the water network would help to reduce the stress residents are experiencing on water supply in the state.

“It will be better for the state government to enlarge the water work scope to produce more water and increase the distribution network.

“It is also advisable to change the old pipes that carry water from the mains; most of the pipes are broken, rusty and exposed to the underground water of the drains and gutters, thereby contaminating the water supply to the residents.

“As association, we do sensitisation to the importance of providing potable water, and the need to ensure that residents pay for the water supply services, and to also ensure that treated is supplied.

“There is need for government to monitor those into borehole business and to ensure strict compliance to the procedures,’’ Muse said.

An official of the Surulere Local Government Council, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the council had little or nothing to do concerning the provision of water.

He said that it was the state government’s responsibility to control and provide potable water to its residents.

Some residents of Amuwo Odofin Local Government and Oriade Local Council Development Area are also affected by the absence of public water supply said they had to create alternate private sources such as boreholes and water vendors.

Mrs Adetola Odunola, a business woman, said that since she moved into her Festac residence on 2nd Avenue in 2005, she never had public water.

“I moved into Festac town about 11 years ago, and I have never seen public water rush from our taps.

“All we do now is sink boreholes or patronise the water vendors in the area,’’ she said.

Ms Chinyere Onyekuru, a worker, said that she was already accustomed to buying water but wished the situation would be addressed by the government.

“We have no public water at all; we are used to patronising boreholes and vendors, who sell water at N50 per gallon.

“And even the boreholes depend on electricity to pump water into our storage tanks.

“Our Festac Water Works has not been working for over 12 years, it needs to be renovated and we need public water,’’ she said.

“When we have issues with the borehole, we buy water from tankers and fill up our personal tanks, which can cost up to N6, 000 as I have three tanks in the house.

Another resident, Mr Kanu Okoro, said that the Festac water works went bad because the residents refused to pay when it was functioning.

“I came to Festac in 1977, and there used to be taps outside for whoever wanted to make use of the water; but for over 10 years, there has been no public provision of water.

“The water stopped running since 1999, mostly because people refused to pay that time, claiming it was the Federal Government’s responsibility to provide free water. So, that was why it was cut off,’’ he said.

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