By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government requires the sum of 300 billion yearly to meet its Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, target on universal access to water for its growing population.
This is coming as the state Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has expressed readiness of his administration to improve the water supply needs of residents towards achieving universal access to safe water by 2030.
Sanwo-Olu and Country Director, International non-government organisation, WaterAid, Evelyn Mere, made the remarks, at the second edition of the annual International Water Conference, organised by Lagos state Water Regulatory Commission, LASWARCO.
She also noted that Nigeria would have to spend $2.1billion annually in capital, operations and maintenance to meet the SDGs.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, while highlighting the challenges, noted that Lagos State Water Corporation produces 210 million gallons per day against the daily water demand estimate of 540 MGD by the Lagos State Water Supply Master Plan, noting that the figures showed a clear deficit of over 300 MGD, which translates to less than 40 per cent of population having access to clean and safe water.
While stating that government was not oblivious of the huge gap and its consequences on the health of the populace, he stressed that his administration remained dedicated to its goal of becoming a global point of reference in the provision of sustainable safe water and sanitation for its increasing population.
Sanwo-Olu further stated that in furtherance of his commitment to affordable and sustainable clean water supply, his government has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with WaterAid, an International Non-governmental Organization on capacity building for approved regulation and expansion of clean water access.
He assured that phase II of the Adiyan Water Project which now stands at 80 per cent completion stage would soon become operational.
Earlier, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the conference was intentionally organized to focus on solutions and results capable of unbundling the obstacles to financial viability and access to clean water and sanitation through experimental knowledge, and also significantly improve on the indices of water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the state.
Executive Secretary of LASWARCO, Mrs. Funke Adepoju, said the conference was aimed at deepening conversations around expanding access to water and investment opportunities in the state, adding that recommendations at the end of the conference would be very useful, going forward.
Commenting on the theme of the conference, “Water Security and Investment Opportunities in Mega Cities: A Case of Lagos State”, Sanwo-Olu said, “it speaks to the huge gap between daily water demand and supply in the state, how we can achieve water security and also harness the investment opportunities in the water sector”
He added that the conference will transform lives, impact the economics of water management, regulation and help to chart a new trajectory for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives as well as environment sustainability in the state.
Mere stated that access to sustainable and equitable safe drinking water remained a challenge in Nigeria, with over 60 million people in the country lacking access to basic water supply.