An estimated investment of about $4billion is required over a period of 10 years to meet water needs in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre. It is currently estimated that Lagos with a population estimate of 21 million people, requires a daily supply of 750 million gallons of potable
Deji Johnson, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lagos Water Corporation (LWC), statutorily saddled with the responsibility of water production and supply in the state, says the corporation currently supplies about 210 gallons per day. He is, however, not certain what percentage of the population is served by public water supply, but admits there is a huge gap requiring collaboration with private sector to fill.
Johnson, who spoke exclusively to BusinessDay on Tuesday ahead of this year’s World Water Day celebration (tomorrow), said the water production situation in the state was particularly challenging because “the population far exceeds the corporation’s ability to meet demand.” He said to increase the level of production and narrow the supply gap, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement is inevitable.
“We have to construct more assets, facilities and structures to cope with the demand. We’re therefore looking for partners who have financial and technical expertise to build more facilities. We need consisted investment not only in production facilities, but also in water treatment plants and network of pipeline which is what is required to take water to the people.
For example, we need to have a situation in which our water mains run through every street. What this will do is that if there is a new building, the owner can apply to tap to the main. This will put an end to what we see people do illegally; a situation where in their desperation to get water, cut through the road and lay pipe across two or three streets away to connect to their homes. This will eliminate other unhealthy practices like running pipes through gutters with the risk of having the water contaminated.
The state alone cannot finance all of these. If the government puts all available funds into water, other sectors like education, health, infrastructure development, agriculture etc, will be in deficits, so we need private sector intervention,” said Johnson.
He explained that such investment could not be seen as charity, as the investors will recoup their investments, and this means that customers should be willing to pay a fair price for water, and this is why the corporation is undertaking the a metering programme in different parts of Lagos.
“The metering programme serves dual purpose: Firstly it helps to conserve water, and secondly, it will eliminate complaints of unfair billing by customers.” Johnson said in the PPP arrangement, the government and the investors will agree on a concession period during which the investors would have recouped their investment and the assets built by them will revert to the government.
“We have investors who have shown interest in our various projects. For example, we’re in talks with investors for the Igbonla Water Scheme and other schemes under the state water master plan developed to increase production of water.
The Igbonla Water Scheme phase 1 with the capacity for 100 million gallons per day, he said is designed to serve Epe, Eti-Osa, Ikoyi, Ibeju Lekki, Victoria and Lagos Island, while the phase II with the capacity for 110 million gallons, will supply a network of over 500 kilometres.
Johnson listed other schemes being proposed to bridge the supply gap to include 35 million gallons in Ikorodu. This, according to him, will comprise upgrading a scheme at Ota-Ikosi from 4 million gallons to 31 million gallons, rehabilitation of Oke-Ota-Ona water plant and Lagos road mini waterworks which currently supply 3MGD and 2MGD respectively.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.