Less than 40% Lagosians have access to clean, safe water – Sanwo-Olu
…as WaterAid advocates increased funding in sanitation & hygiene sector
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has admitted that less than 40 per cent of Lagosians have access to clean and safe water.
The governor disclosed this yesterday at the Lagos International Water Conference (LIMAC) 2021 which was organised by the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO) with support from WaterAid, USAID, among others.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by Dr. Femi Hamzat, the deputy governor of Lagos State, said, “Going by the Lagos State water supply master plan the daily water demand in the city is at about 540 million gallons per day, but production today is about 220 million gallons per day.”
“This shows a clear deficit of over 300 million gallons, which translates to 40 per cent,” Sanwo-Olu lamented.
He however assured, “Achieving water security in Lagos is within our capacity.” The governor of Lagos State noted that if cities like Dubai which is situated in the desert transformed salted water as well as rain drops into safe and accessible water for its populace, we should be able to do better by collaborating with the private sector.”
According to the governor, access to clean water is extremely essential. To this end, he stressed that it has become imperative for the state government to close the gap in water availability, adding that the state was expanding resources to ensure needed safe water was made available to the populace.
The theme of the conference is ‘Water Security & Investment Opportunities In Megacities: A Case Study of Lagos State’.
In her speech, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere said the conference was organised to address one of the most critical issues of our time – water security; and to galvanise support for investment in the water and sanitation sector of Lagos.
According to her, access to sustainable and equitable safe drinking water remains a challenge in Nigeria, with over 60 million people in the country lacking access to basic water supply.
“Poor drinking water quality and a lack of the equity in access compound the problem.
“Furthermore, our changing climate is making life harder for the poorest people in Nigeria, who are already struggling to get clean water right.”
According to Mere, going by the current rate of progress, “it is clear Nigeria is off track and a long way from meeting the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets on universal access to water.”
However, she noted that without a strong commitment, appropriate action and sustained investment and financing, “we may not even meet the target at all. It is estimated that by 2025, the water demand in Lagos will be about 780 million gallons per day – that is four times the current supply. And it will take funding amounting to an annual sector spending of about N300 billion to meet that demand. This will represent a huge chunk of the state’s annual budget which, considering all other challenges confronting her as a megacity, will be almost impossible to muster.”
With the challenges created by COVID-19, dwindling revenues, increasing population size, rapid rates of urbanisation and the impacts of climate change, she said this could not be a better time to commence a conversation that will culminate in a plan on how to mobilise the needed investments and finance to ensure adequate, affordable, sustainable safe water and waste water management services in a megacity like Lagos.
She said it is reminiscent of the Federal Government’s declaration of a state of emergency in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector and the launch of a National Action Plan for its revitalisation.
The country director of WaterAid Nigeria however noted, “The ambitious goals of this plan also rely heavily on increasing funding and investment in water, sanitation, and hygiene sector.”