July 10, 2024

Potable water supply: Sanwo-Olu inaugurates Lagos water partnership initiative

Potable water supply: Sanwo-Olu inaugurates Lagos water partnership initiative

L-R; Representative of the Governor of Lagos State and Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Barr. Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin; Hon. Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab; Chief Executive Officer, Resilient Water Accelerator (RWA), Kate Huges; Hon. Commissioner Economic Budget and Planning, Mr, Mosepefolu George; Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Engr. Mahamood Adegbite and Special Adviser on Environment, Mr. Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, during the inauguration and signing of the Lagos Water partnership with Resilient Water Accelerator (RWA), held on the 9th of July, 2024, at the Oriental Hotel, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos State.

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo -Olu has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, of Lagos Water Partnership with Resilient Water Accelerator, a private organisation, aimed to leverage on sustainable partnerships in improving the environmental and water resources management of the state.

Sanwo-Olu, therefore, reiterated his administration’s commitment to intensifying sustainable water sector reform solutions to ensure that Lagos can provide maximum value and opportunities through its water resources.

The governor stated this at the official signing of the MOU and inauguration of the Lagos Water Partnership, held on Wednesday, in Victoria Island.

Sanwo-Olu noted that across the globe, the water resources sector is facing challenges worsened by the impact of climate change.

The Governor, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Barr. Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, added that the present administration is committed to achieving a water safe city that guarantees access to clean water for all residents.

“Our efforts include revamping water delivery facilities, clearing of blockades from Wetlands and canals to mitigate flood risk and enhancing the resilience of our coastal communities against climate impacts,” he said.

The governor added that the State needed substantial investment to achieve the set goals, stressing that “this is the reason the private sector plays a crucial role in complementing the public sector efforts.”

Sanwo-Olu, explained that the creation of the Lagos Water Partnership was timely as the platform would spearhead the development and execution of an investment vision for water security in Lagos as well as uniting key public and private stakeholders to plan, reflect and stimulate progress.

According to him, this Partnership is tasked with building an evidence based, developing targeted capacity and establishing systems to attract large – scale investments as well as serve as a consultative platform linking private sector actors with government and policy making stakeholders among others.

Earlier, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, stated that the sector remained a focus of the Lagos State Government’s investment and development efforts.

According to Tokunbo, Lagos exemplifies the strategic approach as city authorities globally often face resource constraints in addressing urban needs, making partnerships, collaborations, and alliances for drawing resources and providing vital city services.

He added that the aforementioned forward-thinking initiative, attracted the Resilient Water Accelerator (RWA), which is now collaborating with the Ministry to form the Lagos Water Partnership (LWP).

“The Lagos Water Partnership aligns perfectly with the Lagos State Government’s vision of leveraging partnerships to improve the environmental and water resources management,” the commissioner stated.

Wahab stressed that the Lagos Water Partnership aims to create and implement a robust investment environment sector by channeling private investment to complement public resources and uniting key stakeholders from both sectors.

According to him, “To support our efforts in transforming the environment and water resources sector, the Ministry has created an enabling environment to attract partners and build strategic alliances.”

Recall that at the opening of a two day Lagos and International Water Conference, 2024, with the theme: “Financing Water and Sanitation in Lagos,” recently held in Victoria Island,
the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, has revealed that over 10 million residents in Lagos lack access to portable water supply.

It also added that about 20 million people have no access to environmental sanitation services in the state.

Sanwo-Olu, in his address on the ocassion, however, stressed the need for immediate action by government and private sector in the provision of sustainable portable water supply in the state in particular and Nigeria at large.

USAID Mission Director to Nigeria, Mellisa Jones, said in a study conducted by the agency, “It revealed that over 10 million Lagos residents do not have access to portable water supply especially in low income communities, while about 20 million residents do not have access to environmental sanitation services.

“There is the need for collective efforts to ensure supply of portable water in Lagos and Nigeria in general.

“In the next five years USAID will work with Lagos State Government to transform water sector as well as súpporting private investors. We will chart a road map for transformation in addressing water and sanitation services in the state.”

Sanwo-Olu in his address, stated, “I’m hoping that the conversation we’re having here today and tomorrow, (conference),let us create a real partnership, let us see that convergence and be able to improve the quality of life for our people, it’s important.

“But we’ve seen government, successive government, make those commitments, but the output and the outcomes are still not where it should be.

“And so, if you believe that I’m your governor, and you want to wish me a very good birthday, let’s live here today and tomorrow with collective commitment that in the next 12 to 18 months, we want to change that narrative on a positive trajectory.

“We want to build public facilities. Let’s change the conversation. Let’s see a movement in the collaborative efforts of our discussions over this very long period, and let us use ourselves as the change that we want.

“And so for us, it’s not just about lip service it’s about ensuring that we can put all of our resources where it is most needed we can identify the skills that are required we can speak truth to authority and we can challenge ourselves.

“We want to move away from talk we want to move to action and move away from those rhetorics.

“Let us use ourselves as the change that we desire, because it’s only when we do that that indeed what I will not have any mean.

“We need to ask ourselves that if we want to build partnership, let’s build this real partnership.

“Let’s identify where the resources have to come from. Let’s identify truthfully and honestly what needs to happen.

“And I’m going to make myself as an example. The best birthday present that I want here today is not the song. It’s the fact that

“When we come back here next year for this yet another conference the Adiyan II project, which will require tens of billions of naira should have been completed.

“That is the commitment I want to give here today. Whatever it’s going to take, whatever resources it’s going to require for us to be able to complete Adiyan, 70 million gallon water treatment plant that will change access to water, that will change availability to water is committed.

“And if I’m making myself as an example, I’m looking for partners. I’m looking for real partners from the Federal Minister of the Environment, from all of our international development partners to the private sector that I see all of the very nicely done proposals, but nothing happens after the proposals.

“It’s just been all proposals, proposals, proposals. We want results on the ground. We want people that are committed and we take this forward.”