• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Lives at risk as potable water remains scarce in Lagos


… state seeks intervention through PPP  


Lives are being exposed to danger, as potable water remains a scarce product in Lagos State, leaving millions to continue to drink from sources with high risk of contamination, such as boreholes, wells and broken pipes.
Whereas, the water need of Lagos is put at over 700 million gallons per day, the state through its water corporation currently has capacity for a little over 200 million gallons per day, but actually produces and distributes between 145 to 150 million gallons per day from its facilities, leaving a huge gap of over 500 million gallons, being bridged by different other sources.  
The risks are even higher as regulatory bodies at the state and federal level appear incapable of pinning down profit-driven producers of all manners of sachet and table water being hawked around the city, even as a chunk of the packaged water are dubbed unfit for consumption. 
According to Ahmed Abdullahi, executive secretary, Lagos State Waste Water Regulatory Commission (LSWRC), the risk is overtly manifest in the fact that over 50 percent of persons admitted in Lagos hospitals suffer from water borne-related diseases. Among the common water borne-related diseases are cholera, dysentery, diarrhoea, guinea worm disease and giardia.
Abdullahi confirms that most of the branded sachet/table water on sales in the state comes from doubtful sources. 
His assertion is corroborated by Muminu Badmus, managing director, Lagos Water Corporation (LWC), which, itself, had been unable to meet the about 700 million gallons per day water need of the state, a situation that leaves a larger percentage of the state’s estimated 20 million population relying on boreholes, wells, ‘pure water’ and illegal tapping from broken pipelines owned by the LWC to satisfy their water needs. 
About N689.5 billion is reportedly required to execute the state water master plan that would take the state from the less than 200 million gallons per day to about 745 million gallons by 2020, a project the government believes will require Public Private Partnership (PPP) to actualise. 
“That is why the state seeks to partner with the private sector to accelerate the development of water infrastructure and make water available,” Badmus says.
Badmus agrees there are challenges including power supply and population explosion, but efforts are being made by the state to address the challenges, saying like the United States, Lagos is a city with ever increasing population, which puts constant pressure on water supply. 
“Our design capacity remains at 210 million gallons per day, whereas with the population that we have now, over 20 million, we should be given about 700 million gallons per day. So the gap is about 500 million gallons per day.
“We are producing about 140-150mgd, that’s what we are producing. It’s less and that’s simply because of a lot of unaccounted-for water, which starts from our facility, the water works, all the way to the household where we deliver water. It’s less than the required water consumption for the number of citizens. So, we should be producing about 700 million gallons per day, supplying about 700 million gallons but we are only doing about 200 million.”
Badmus says a lot of effort is being made, adding “we have received an approval for PPP for 100 million gallons. It’s called Odomola PPP Water Works, which will come from Odomola and will supply all the way to Victoria Island.
“And another one is the one that we have now – we have the Expression of Interest advertised now. That one is 70 million gallons per day that will be Adiyan phase 2.”