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Potable water remains a major challenge in Lekki

•as residents contend with contaminated borehole water

By Kingsley Adegboye

Potable water, as important as it is to human life, has continued to remain elusive to Lekki residents and its environs.

This is because, in the absence of potable water in the area, which is the responsibility of the government, residents depend largely on boreholes as source of water supply which in most cases, is not good for drinking because it is contaminated by the dirty lagoon water in the axis due to the shallow water table of the area.

Our findings revealed that majority of the residents cannot drink water from their boreholes, and while some residents only use the water for washing and cooking, some residents can’t even use water from their boreholes to cook or wash because of the reddish nature of the water. This category of residents buy water to meet their daily water needs.

Those that are enjoying water from their boreholes in Lekki are residents who have have boreholes that are as deep as 250 to 300 metres which is very expensive.

According to experts, there may be considerable hazard for those who use water sourced from boreholes directly in the area, or those who do not have water treatment facilities or filters in their homes.

Prof. Ebenezer Meshida of the Geoscience Department of the University of Lagos, said the type of water one can get in most parts of Lekki, is highly contaminated, pointing out that the water in the region is not expected to be used as drinking water.

Prof. Meshida said: “That type of water can be used to clean your car or flush the toilets. Any water you get around five metres depth is highly dangerous. The type of water that is fit for consumption in that area should be obtained from boreholes that are very deep, deeper than third water level. Those who are experienced in drilling boreholes understand that at the third water level, you get fresh water. Sometimes you get to 200 metres or 300 metres before you can get drinkable water but some will say it is too expensive.

“Those who build houses in that zone of Lagos must be people with millions of naira in their pockets because it is not a zone that is good for extracting drinkable water. What is usually obtained there is salty or polluted water. Most of the diseases people fall prey to in Lagos are from polluted water consumption.” But what can be done by those who already have shallow boreholes in these areas?”, he asked.

The Don who said boiling of the water is an old system that still works fine, said: “Boiling is the first stage of treatment. You can then filter after that. In those days, we made use of filters that used candles. If you boil water from whatever source it comes from and you filter it with a cloth and put it in the candle filters, you can be sure you are safe.

“I will suggest that anybody who wants to drink water sourced from shallow boreholes in such areas should go to environmental chemists. They are in university chemistry departments. They will help to analyse the water. They will be able to identify the chemical composition and determine the best way to treat the water,” he said.

A resident in the axis who spoke under anonymity, told our Correspondent that “the water from the borehole is like the colour of salt and it is very salty. Even after treatment, it is still not suitable for drinking or any other use. We pay tankers to fill our overhead tanks. Apart from the N7,000 I pay to fill the tank which I share with another neighbour in my boys’ quarters, I spend as much as N5,000 weekly on bottled and sachet water. The water from our borehole is just unusable.

“In some areas in Lekki, their water is brownish in colour. You dare not even think about using it to wash, not to think of drinking. What we do is that we treat the water so that it could at least be used to wash clothes and toilets. “We have a water treatment plant in the house. After treating the water, we wait for about three hours.

“Then it turns whitish. Only then can we use it to bathe or wash toilets. Even at that, one still has to pour disinfectants in it. My sister in Lekki Phase I lives in a six-bedroom duplex and they have to get two tankers of water every week to meet up our daily water needs.”

Meanwhile, Lagos State Water Corporation said plans are ongoing to make potable water available in the axis in the nearest future, pointing out that the mini water works in some parts of Lekki cannot serve the huge population of the area, but with the completion of the ongoing Igbola water scheme which is expected to produce one million gallons of water per day, the water need of Lekki will be met.

In a statement by the Corporation signed recently by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Water Corporation, Olu Akinmuleya,  the Managing Director of the Corporation, Muminu Badmus, an engineer, assured Lagosians that the Lagos State Government would continue to work in their interest in the bid to promote their well-being, adding that this was the main reason the Akinwunmi Ambode administration had prioritised provision of potable water to the people by investing in water facilities as evidenced by the increase of water supply to 220 million gallons per day to rapidly bridge supply gap.

Badmus stated that the exponential increase in population has continued to push the water supply need of Lagos State to 570 million gallon per day, leaving a gap of over 300 million gallons per day,  while for the same demographic reason, the state’s resources faced pressure from other critical areas.

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