LSWRC begins ground water pollution control

Packaged-WaterPOISED to ensure safety of its water table, the Lagos State Government through its agency, Water Regulatory Commission, has commenced the implementation of boosting its water quality regulation, by kick-starting the licensing process for borehole drilling practitioners in Lagos State.

The move was made to ensure government’s determination that not only adequate water supply is available in Lagos, but also quality products.

This is coming on , the gathering of the stakeholders that include, the Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP), Nigeria Water and Sanitation Association (NIWASA), among others, in a week long event that took place at the Excellence Hotel, Ogba, IKeja, recently.

At the end of the retreat, the participants came up with a 5-point agenda that formed the communiqué. These include regulating the activities of borehole drilling practitioners in the state through the enthronement of licensing regime; protect the quality of underground water and enforce observance of water quality standard and best practices in the industry. This is expected to prevent pollution of groundwater.

Others include the development of database for existing and future boreholes; promotion of professionalism and reduction of the rate of collapsed boreholes and conducting inventory on the existing boreholes and testing of water quality.
The event’s theme: “Groundwater Quality Control Regulation”, examined issues ranging from licenses and permits; tariff policies and determination guidelines; performance and compliance monitoring guidelines; water quality standards, monitoring and enforcement; service quality standards; service agreements and compliance monitoring and periodic sector audits.

Others include sector development plans; Legislative reviews and monitoring; Guidance documents, instruments and templates for reporting for licensees and other stakeholders to ensure adequate enabling framework for service delivery, investments and private operators.

Besides, the retreat considered steps to be taking to check the indiscriminate drilling activities by non-licensed and non-professional drillers, who constitute quacks in the drilling industry; the indiscriminate citing of boreholes for water abstraction; haphazard water abstraction without recourse to the condition of the aquifer and water table.

Other considerations include issues affecting pollution of groundwater, leading to increase of water-borne diseases; the effects of climate change on ground water and salt water’s intrusion along the coastal areas in the state, among others issues.
Speaking on the activities of the commission, Executive Secretary, LSWRC, Alhaji Ahmed kabir Abdullahi, an architect, noted that the commission was committed to fulfill its mandate that include regulation, production, distribution and supply of water and the delivery of wastewater management services in Lagos State.

According to Abdullahi, the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission shall employ regulatory mechanism capable of bringing immense benefits to the consumers, service providers, investors and the government.
“Benefits to consumers in this case include the improved water supply and sanitation services, improved access for the poor/better living conditions, improved service standards (quality, reliability, pressure, access), transparent pricing regime, predictability of service, accountability, dispute resolution and improved complaints and response mechanism, where necessary”, Said Abdullahi.

Also listed as benefits to service providers and investors include increased investment efficiency and returns, increased investment potential due to reduced sector risk perception and certainty of operating rules, increase in capital mobilisation, clear rules and regulations leading to better risk management and access to Research and Development and Technology Advances.

Besides, benefits to the government include improved sector human resource capacity, development of commercial and competitive service providers, technological innovation, research
conservation of resources, increased sector information and data for planning and policies.

These are all geared towards water supply and wastewater sector that ensures the delivery of efficient, qualitative, affordable and sustainable water supply and wastewater management services for present and future inhabitants of Lagos State.” He said, warned residents to ensure that they wash their tanks regularly.

He also asked the would-be landlords to ensure that they employ the service of professional drillers, warning that it can be dangerous to site borehole close to soak-away pits, as such mistake can facilitates infiltration into the borehole.

Commenting on the importance of the retreat, National President, Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP), Mr. Michael Ale, while assuring that the roles of his association is to complement government’s efforts in ensuring adequate and quality water supply, said licensing of drillers is a welcome development.

Ale assured the gathering that drilling rig owners would ensure that they comply with the rules and regulations guiding their activities. “We are partners in progress with the Lagos state government and I am assuring government officials that we will not hesitate to sanction our members who are not stand by the ethics of our work”, said Ale.

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