Following a review of current trends within the sector, experts have expressed concern over the prevailing situation and called for a thoughtful financial initiative that would aid the provision, management and maintenance of water. They likewise want the issue of infrastructures and sanitation addressed.
At a daylong Media Roundtable on “Resources Mobilisation for Improved Water Supply and Sanitation service delivery in Lagos State” held recently in Lagos, stakeholders gave prodigious revelation of shortage of water in the state. However, some state officials rose in defence of the government.
The event was organised by the Water and Sanitation (WASH) Media Network with the support of Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and WaterAid in West Africa.
The meeting, which brought together journalists reporting water supply and sanitation issues for print, electronic and online media, sought to identify financial needs for accelerating and ensuring universal coverage of safe water supply and sanitation services to residents of Lagos State. It was also to meant determine how required financial resources could be mobilised from government agencies, private sector, donors, private sector, and consumers to meet investment needs.
In a presentation, National Chair, WASH Media Network, Babatope Babalobi, said with the estimated population of Lagos at 21 million, the state needed about 1.6BLD potable water to meet daily consumption by its residence, adding that only 7 million Lagosians out of the estimated population of between 17.5 million and 21.3 million currently have access to potable water supply.
He added that for the state to meet her Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015, over 10 to 14 million of her dwellers must have access to potable water supply and warned that if something drastic was not done to address the situation, sub-Sahara African countries would not meet the MDGs water target till 2046 and the sanitation target till 2076.
According to him, the demand projection implies significant capital requirements for infrastructure expansion, estimated to be in the range of $1.5 to 2.0 billion, averaging around $100 million per year over the next 25 years, saying these would be required in order to reach 80 percent coverage of its target in the state.
Babalobi, who submitted that the contribution of the state government to rural water supply and sanitation in the last six years was minimal, as only a donor agency contributed over 56 percent funds utilised on all activities related to rural water and sanitation, added that rural water supply and sanitation were poorly funded.
Though he gave kudos to the state for creating the Wastewater Management Office, he however said that the agencies were still in dire need of funds to meet the sanitation challenges of the mega city status of Lagos.
Chairman of the event, Prof. Lekan Oyebande, said in the area of innovative funding sources, cost recovery poses a great challenge, adding that Lagos has not done well in that regard, and urged for the launching of serious initiative towards ensuring that operation and maintenance cost was contributed in the mega urban region by water users.
According to him, “The high level of unaccounted for water should be seriously tackled. If such losses can be recovered, or reduced to an acceptable level, the savings will represent a significant source of innovative investment in the state.”
Officials of the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC) disclosed that the “Lagos Water Supply Master Plan” that spans 2010 to 2020 and within three terms would cost an estimated $2,485,950 (N402,723,900).