Water is one of the most important substances on earth, all human, plants and animals depend largely on water for survival. According to Science, water makes up more than two third of human body weight, and the human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration.
It therefore would not be an overstatement to say that there would be no life without water.
The provision of water in sufficient quantity for the world population has been a herculean task for most countries across the globe. That is why most countries of the world are now jittering about this precarious situation where demand for water has always outweighed water supply globally. This is reemphasized by the recent United Nations World Water Development Report which revealed that, without significant global policy change, the world would only have 60% of the water it needs by 2030.
The reality is that access to safe drinking water is not too encouraging in many households in the country as only 67% of the population has access to basic water supply. As part of the Federal Government policy, the responsibility of water supply is shared between three levels of government – federal, state and local. The federal government is in charge of water resources management; state governments have the primary responsibility for urban water supply; and local governments together with communities are responsible for rural water supply.
However, the story of the water situation in Lagos has continued to remain a great topical issue, because the State occupies an important position as the economic hub of Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. There are so many factors inhibiting the rapid move by the government to meet water demand target, and these include; population explosion, erratic power supply, water wastage, aging infrastructure, and right pricing among others. This situation has continued to propel Government to show high level of commitment towards improving water supply in the State.
Faced with this reality, the State Government has continued to respond to challenges in order to tackle the problem of water scarcity. Although there have been arguments in different quarters that the efforts of the State in the water sector have not totally solved the problem, but the government affirms that this administration remains committed to bridging the daily deficit of potable water supply in the State.
One of the strategies employed is the development of the Lagos Water Supply Master Plan (2010 – 2020) as a road map to solving the problem of water demand gap, and ensuring that Lagos is water crisis free in future. For the State to achieve this, a great number of projects have been embarked upon to increase the production and expansion of reticulation across the State.
The ongoing construction of Adiyan Phase II, a major waterworks is a testimony to this, and when completed will produce additional 70 MGD (Million Gallons per Day), and is expected to supply water to 3million residents in the western axis of the State. It is presently at an advanced stage, with 75% of the work completed.
More importantly, the approval has been given to LWC to facilitate the construction of 100MGD Odomola water scheme to serve Lekki, Victoria Island, Onikan, Epe , Ibeju – Lekki, Badore and other communities in that Axis based on Public – Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Some have expressed doubts on how realistic this PPP initiative will be, and of the opinion that it will raise the tariff on water making it unaffordable for Lagosians, it is important to state here that the State has introduced the Public-Private Partnership scheme, into the water sector for rapid development without inflicting financial burden on the people. Simply put, PPP is an injection of fresh funds into government’s facilities from private investors, and it is not profit driven, but a long-term investment that will guarantee protection of Lagosians’ interest.
As part of the efforts to bridge the gap in water supply, the State Government is currently carrying out rehabilitation of the major waterworks of 45MGD Iju, 70MGD Adiyan and 4MGD Ishasi to improve their production capacity so that they can perform at maximum level..
To complement this, the present administration has commenced the rehabilitation of 48 mini waterworks across the State, and this project which is 80% completed, and when they commence operation fully, the waterworks will produce additional 100MGD.
As part of this present administration’s renewed efforts to combat water crisis in the State, Mosan – Okunola mini waterworks (2MGD) and the Otta-Ikosi regional Water scheme of 4(MGD)capacity is currently supplying over 10 communities in Agbowa /Ikorodu area of the State were recently commissioned.
Presently, there are ongoing rehabilitation and expansion projects in different parts of Lagos which involves replacement of pipes and mains expansion to boost water supply. Some of the benefiting communities include Surulere, Itire, Yaba/Ebute-Metta, Iwaya and Victoria Island.
Administration of Governor Ambode also considers water conservation of utmost importance, and has therefore commenced the metering of every household in the State. This is a measure towards putting an end to the usage of water that is not accounted for, and will no doubt help to keep track of average domestic and commercial usage of water supply. It is a positive step towards conservation of water, so that a considerable number of Lagosians will have access to water and also change customers’ attitude to the valuable natural resources and to manage water consumption effectively.
The State has deployed 15,000 units of pre-paid meters in Lekki, Ikeja, Surulere, Itire, Yaba/ Ebute-Meta, Iwaya, Victoria Island, Victoria Island Annex, Dolphin Esatate, MKO Abiola Garden etc. Also, Nodal meters were deployed into LWC distribution networks for better efficiency and management of water supply in different parts of Lagos. These meters have been fitted with telemetry devices for real time remote monitoring and management for improved water delivery in the State.
The recent “Cleaner Lagos Initiative” of this administration has just been kicked off with respect to making the environment safer and healthier for all Lagosians, and interestingly, water happens to be one of the key elements. This initiative aims to improve the environment by making it cleaner, safer and healthier for all Lagosians by promoting a harmonized and holistic approach to environmental challenges; and as a result, improve operational efficiency.
The stupendous goals of this initiative includes improving the quality of water and addressing treatment of wastewater and sewage, which would be financially backed by the Lagos State Environmental Trust Fund (LSETF), created exclusively for environmental related expenditure and activities.
Sanitation is not left out of this project, as it includes effective waste management, with the best practices in recycling wastewater for reuse.
Considering the efforts and strategies put in place by the State in addressing the dreaded global water scarcity, Lagos is likely to have excess water by 2020. Therefore, there is no gainsaying the fact that with the proactive measure being undertaken by Governor Ambode, water shortage in Lagos State is well on its way out.