LWC raises alarm over borehole proliferation
THE Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) has raised the alarm over the impending danger in the proliferation of boreholes by individuals in Lagos metropolis and its environs.
The managing director of the corporation, Engr. Shayo Holloway, in a press briefing disclosed that the state government, in a proactive attempt to avert the looming danger, has put measures in place through its Lagos Water Supply Master Plan.
He said some mischief-makers, who are ignorant about the state government’s intention, have gone to town with rumours and deliberate misconceptions that the government wants to privatize the Lagos State Water Corporation.
He declared: “The Lagos government has never at any time considered the sale or divestment of any of LWC water assets. On the contrary, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) law of 2004 only seeks to partner with the private sector for accelerated development of water infrastructure to meet the current water demand in Lagos, which presently stands at 540 million gallons per day for a population of 20 million.
“This is not privatization, where assets are sold off to the private sector. Public Private Partnership is indeed a veritable strategy for accelerated infrastructure development using private capital.”
According to him, the Lagos available water assets, even if run at 100 per cent, stands at 210 million gallons per day, leaving a shortfall or deficit of 330 million gallons per day. This translates to only 9 million people out of the 20 million in Lagos getting water, while 11 million are without water.
According to him, the current shortfall is characterized by unbridled sinking of boreholes all over the state with its attendant environment and health hazards.
While disclosing that studies have indicated that if the proliferation of boreholes is not promptly addressed, in about 10 years from now Lagos runs the risk of saline (salt water) from the Atlantic Ocean massively migrating inwards to pollute ground water and thus makes all boreholes draw salt water, he affirmed that this phenomenon is already happening to boreholes along the coastal region of Lagos.
”Studies have indicated that if the proliferation of boreholes is not promptly addressed, in about 10 years from now, Lagos runs the risk of saline (salt water) from the Atlantic Ocean massively migrating inwards to pollute ground water and thus makes all boreholes draw salt water. This phenomenon is already happening to boreholes along the coastal region of Lagos.”
According to him, it is in order to address this current water demand and meet the projection of the near future that gave rise to the development of LWC Master Plan to take the state from its present level of 210 million gallons per day to 745 million gallons per day by year 2020. The leap, he said, is estimated to cost $3.5 billion.
“This is an investment, which the state government cannot undertake alone as this will take the state two and half years to fund with every naira inflow going into the water sector only. No state can fund this size of investment when there are other equally demanding sectors like health, education, security, social services etc.
However, while saying that the state has commenced the implementation of the Master plan with the ongoing Adiyan phase 2 that will give additional 70 million gallons per day and will be completed in 2016, he explained that the state thought it wise to seek to partner with the private sector to accelerate the development of water infrastructure with private capital to make water available to all even before individual boreholes start going saline.
He disclosed that many agencies which include the state public procurement agency, water regulatory agency, ministry of justice and others have been involved to address the concerns of affordability by the vulnerable segment of the society.
“It is this arrangement that some people misunderstood for privatization that is being peddled around town that the government wants to privatize LWC and lay off workers,” he said.
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