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Monday, September 25, 2023

Water: Lagos designs master plan as south-south stakeholders list challenges

The Lagos State Water Corporation (LWC) says it has designed a master plan to ensure adequate and interrupted water supply to the residents.

Muminu Badmus
LWC Managing Director, Mr Muminu Badmus

The Managing Director of the corporation, Mr Muminu Badmus, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, as part of a recent nationwide survey.

Badmus, however, said that there had been a tremendous improvement in the supply of potable water to households as well as industrial and commercial outfits in Lagos State.

NAN reports that at the moment, the corporation’s water supply capacity is 210 million gallons per day (MGD), while it needs 750MGD to service more than 20 million inhabitants of the state.

Badmus said that the corporation had begun an aggressive rehabilitation of 48 mini-waterworks in various parts of the state in 2017 so as to ensure the even distribution of water to all communities.

According to him, available records show that rehabilitation of the mini-waterworks has reached 87 per cent completion by the end of 2017.

“The reason for the rehabilitation is to ensure that every household in the state is connected to public water supply channels.

“The waterworks are at Epe, Ikoyi, Alexander, Dolphin, Lekki, Badore, Epe-Agric, Victoria Island Annex, Eredo, Surulere, Ikate, Coker, Aguda, Iponri, Somolu, Bariga, Iwaya, Isheri-Oshun, Alausa, Oshodi, Ikeja, Ikeja-GRA, Apapa, Ajegunle, Ajangbadi and Ojo.

“Others are at Ijora-Badia, Shasha, Abule-Egba, Oke-Odo, Idimu, Igando, Meiran, Ikorodu-Lagos Road, Ikorodu-Ota-Ona, Oworonsoki, Magodo, Ijaye, Ojokoro, Isheri-Odo and Agege.

“As a result of the rehabilitation projects, uninterrupted water supply has been restored to areas like Ijesha-tedo, Makoko, Ikate, Iwaya, Unilag second gate, Odunlami Linkage (Lagos Island) and Isheri-Olowora,’’ he said.

Badmus said that the construction of a 100-MGD water scheme at Igbo-Nla (Phase1) will serve the Epe corridor, Victoria Island, Ibeju-Lekki, Badore, Igbo-Efon, Ajah and Onikan.

He said that the Igbo-Nla project would be executed through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

The managing director, however, said that factors such as old and rusty pipes, burst pipes, blockage and building on water pipe right-of-way, water wastage and consumers’ outright refusal to pay water bills had combined to frustrate efforts toward regular water supply in the state.

According to him, the corporation is providing metering systems for water consumers to effectively tackle menace of the billing system and water wastage.

He said that with the metering system, payment for water would be dependent on water usage in order to ensure that residents used water responsibly.

Besides, Badmus said that the corporation had put some mechanisms in place to fast-track immediate repair of burst pipes.

He said that the agency was encouraging people to report burst pipes in their neighbourhoods for prompt repair.

Badmus said that people were still facing acute water shortage in the state as the provision of water was certainly cost-intensive.

He said that many new and fast-developing estates had yet to be provided with water reticulation pipes, adding that until the pipes were connected to those communities, the residents would not be able to have hitch-free access to potable water.

He, however, underscored the need for the restructuring of the existing public water supply programmes via the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Badmus stressed that the overhaul of the water sector would facilitate the construction of many waterworks in the state, as government’s funds were obviously inadequate for the construction of new waterworks.

He, however, said that the PPP was different from privatisation.

He added that under the Lagos State PPP model, private investors would participate in the construction of waterworks, while the government would regulate water supply and protect the interests of water consumers in the state.

Meanwhile, stakeholders South-South geopolitical zone of the country have urged the state governments to overhaul existing water schemes and build new ones to enhance water supply to the residents.

They listed the challenges facing water supply in the zone as high-level leakages, broken pipelines, poor equipment maintenance and inadequate funding, among others.

For instance, the Cross River State Water Board said that the high incidence of water leakages in the Calabar metropolis because of broken pipelines, among other factors, was largely responsible for the poor water supply.

The newly-appointed Administrator of the Board, Dr Stephen Odey, however, told NAN that regular water supply would be restored in Calabar and its environs.

He attributed the current water supply problems in the Calabar metropolis to broken pipelines and other factors.

“The situation is bad and embarrassing to the state, there are leakages everywhere; no maintenance, nothing.

“This can be described as economic sabotage because if water, which that is meant for people’s houses, is allowed to waste away on the street, you should not expect the residents to pay their water bills,” he said.

Odey said that the state government had initiated some measures to ensure regular maintenance and repair of the water infrastructure, particularly water pipelines, so as to stamp out water leakages and wastage.

All the same, the Cross River State Government has procured “Motorised Drilling Rig and Geographical Survey Equipment’’ to provide borehole water for over 500 rural communities across the three senatorial districts.

Gov. Ben Ayade, who recently inaugurated the equipment, pledged the commitment of his administration to providing potable water for the citizens, including those living in the rural communities.

“By the time we are done in four years, we will have no single community that has to go to the stream to look for water; we must put an end to that.

“With this rig, we will provide quality water that will make our people healthy.

“We must take water to the doorsteps of our people and that is why we have procured this equipment for the benefit of mankind,’’ he added.

In Bayelsa State, some residents of Yenagoa, the state capital, who decried poor access to drinkable water, called for an urgent improvement of water supply to their communities so as to reduce the people’s dependence on water vendors for daily water supplies.

However, Mr Nengi Tuobonah, the Commissioner for Water Resources, said that the Bayelsa State Government, World Bank, the European Union (EU) and UNICEF were collaborating to ensure improved water supply to the citizens.

Tuobonah listed ongoing water projects as the construction of 13 solar-powered water supply networks in Okaka, Yenagoa, Ogbia, Ekeremor and Sagbama Local Government Areas.

“Besides, we are refurbishing 100,000-gallon overhead tanks and building 10 modern water treatment plants in communities across the state.

“We have been in partnership with the EU and UNICEF; I believe before the end of 2018 – with the projects embarked upon by the present government – there will be surplus potable water for our people.

“As part of efforts to alleviate the current sufferings of the people, government has stationed water tankers at 20 strategic locations across Yenagoa to sell water to the residents at the rate of N20 per 20-litre container.

“The government has paid N42 million as its counterpart funding for the intervention by donor agencies, including World Bank, EU and UNICEF, to provide potable water for residents.

“By the end of the first quarter of the year; everybody, every household and every family in Yenagoa will have water reticulated to their homes by the grace of God,’’ he said.

Nevertheless, Mrs Grace Mark, a trader in Opolo community, bemoaned the water supply situation in the state, saying that the residents’ reliance on water from water vendors was unhealthy.

Mark said: “We want the government to improve on water supply; we have the water pipes all round but no adequate supply of water.

“Even when you have a borehole in your house, you still have to treat the water very well before using it due to its high iron content.

“Besides, oil is polluting our water and this has made it difficult for us to have drinkable water here; and we can’t depend on pipe-borne water because it is not regular.’’

In a bid to boost water supply to the citizens, the Edo State Government has developed a three-year Medium Term Water Sector Strategic Plan to improve the people’s access to drinkable water in all the 18 local government areas of the state.

The Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources, Mr Yekini Idaiye, told NAN in Benin City, the state capital, that during the period, government would spend over N6 billion to reactivate existing water schemes.

He said that the government would connect water pipes to all villages and communities where the water schemes were located, while building new schemes.

He said that there were ongoing water projects in Ovia South West, Etsako West, Uhunmwonde, Ohrionmwon, Esan South and Owan West Local Government Areas.

“The total cost of the seven projects is N4 billion and the projects are jointly funded by the state government and the EU.

“Besides, N1.3 billion has been budgeted for water projects in the 2018 budget and the figure excludes the amount which will be coming from international donor agencies,’’ he said.

Idaiye said that government planned to reactivate all the water schemes, initiated under the MDGs programme, and various dams across the state to further boost water supply to the citizens.

“As we speak, Federal Government is already working on the Ojirami Dam in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area and the Otuo Dam in Owan East Local Government Area.

“Once the Federal Government is through with the projects, our job as a state will be to reticulate the water to communities and towns within the domains of these dams.’’

The commissioner said that the state government, in its efforts to ensure sustainability of these projects, had set up Water Consumers Associations (WCAs), while training no fewer than 500 artisans in equipment repairs.

“The duty of the WCAs is to ensure the efficient management of these water projects in the communities, while protecting them against vandalism.

“The artisans will be trained on how to repair the equipment of the water projects,’’ he said.

“To ensure efficiency and better service delivery, we have also restructured the water board by splitting it into two agencies — Small Town and Rural water Sanitation Agency and Urban Water Corporation,” he said.

However, Mr Aniefiok Ukpe, the Managing Director, Akwa Ibom State Water Company, identified inadequate funding of water projects as a major factor inhibiting efforts to improve water supply to the people.

Ukpe told NAN in Uyo that government ought to exhibit enough political will to recognise the overriding importance of water as one of the basic necessities of life.

He noted that the 27 water stations, which were constructed across the state over 10 years ago, were currently in a deplorable state, yearning for rehabilitation.

He noted that in 2017, no provision was made in the budget for water projects in the state.

“Even in 2018, only N600 million is allocated for two water projects in Ikono and Ukanafun Local Government Areas,’’ he said, adding that inadequate finance had been frustrating efforts to expand water schemes in the state.

“About 10 years ago, during the tenure of former Gov. Victor Attah, the state government executed a water supply programme which was supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

“Under the programme, water sources in 27 locations across eight to 10 local government areas of the state were developed.

“What remains is taking water from those sources to the people’s residences so that the residents can have access to potable water.

“A major challenge is finance; we have no funds to take the water to the people.

“We have seven water stations in the state taking care of the Uyo metropolis but unfortunately, there is no pipeline linking those water stations to the residents,’’ he added.

Ukpe also identified epileptic power supply as a major hindrance to the efforts of the company to move water to households in Akwa Ibom.

He said that the company largely relied on electricity generating sets to pump water for distribution to the people.

“Due to epileptic nature of electricity supply, we spend a lot of money on fuelling our generators to service the stations.

“It is very difficult to recover what we spend from customers, who pay little or nothing to get water. The problem also is that we are not metering the customers,” he said.

He, nonetheless, gave an assurance that Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s administration was making tangible efforts to improve water supply the citizens.

In Delta State, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Felix Tilije, said that the state government had earmarked N1.62 billion for water schemes in 2018.

He said that the government was already carrying out the rehabilitation of water schemes across the state so as to boost the supply of potable water to the citizens.

He also said that the state government had initiated a water bill for passage by the House of Assembly to attract private investors into the water sector, as part of efforts to revamp the sector and improve water supply.

However, Mr Emmanuel Odogwu, an engineer in the Ministry of Water Resources, said that the state government, through the ministry, had commenced the process of concessioning the Warri/Efurun water scheme to private operators.

NAN learnt that the ministry, with the approval of the State Executive Council, was currently rehabilitating 98 water schemes across the state in efforts to boost water supply to the people.

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