LAGOS ON TRAJECTORY TO EXPAND CLEAN WATER ACCESS, SANITATION SERVICES

… As LASWARCO Holds Third International Water Conference

The Lagos State Government has expressed readiness to expand access to clean water and sanitation services with a commitment to close the existing sectoral gaps in the best interest of residents and the general public.

The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the Third Lagos International Water Conference (#LIWAC2022) held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Wednesday. 

According to Bello, the administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is committed to expanding access to water supply in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S. Development Agenda for a Greater Lagos.

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He said the theme of this year’s edition of the conference: “Unlocking Investment and Sustainable Access to Clean Water and Sanitation Services: The Regulatory Imperative”, was specifically aimed at expanding conversation towards exploring opportunities in the public and private sectors to deepen access to clean water and sanitation services. 

His words: “It is no gainsaying that the resolution of the multifarious challenges confronting the water and wastewater management sector in Lagos requires a dedicated and thoughtful approach to delivering the ideals of SDG-6 to the citizenry”.

“I am quite assured that the array of speakers and panel discussants from organisations such as USAID, WaterAid, African Development Bank (AFDB), Organised Private Sector and WASH Specialists, among others lined up for this intellectual engagement, will not only do justice to the theme of the Conference but also leave us with a worthy and practical road map to the resolution of water security problems”, Bello said.

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary of LASWARCO, Mrs. Funke Adepoju, noted that LIWAC had become a veritable platform to exchange transformational and innovative ideas to find lasting solutions to water supply and sanitation challenges, especially in a megacity like Lagos, with over 24 million people and a projected annual growth rate of 3.2%.

She said the present administration recognises that Lagos, as the seventh fastest-growing city globally with the highest GDP and IGR in Nigeria, cannot achieve the agenda for a greater city-State without igniting the water economy.

“The highlights of past editions have already attracted investment, through a partnership with WaterAid, to strengthen capacity building and promotion of water sector regulation”. Also, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on the LUWASH programme, a first step towards enhancing urban water service delivery in Lagos State by improving infrastructure and accountability, strengthening regulatory oversight of LASWARCO as well as boosting the financial and technical capabilities of Lagos Water utilities and private water vendors”, Adepoju added. 

Going forward, the Executive Secretary said the Commission was working on the co-creation concept facilitated by WaterAid to demonstrate Public-Private Partnership (PPP) regulation and community engagement through improved water supply delivery services as well as ongoing rehabilitation and upgrade of existing major water works, all geared towards improving access to clean water.

She expressed optimism that the second phase of the Adiyan waterworks project, on completion, would hugely close the existing gaps in water supply by producing an additional 70MGD, assuring that Lagos would continue to initiate, implement and sustain policies targeted at ensuring residents have access to drinkable water and hygiene services.

On his part, the Keynote Speaker and Chairman, Global Water Leaders Group, Mr. Christopher Gasson, said Lagos must employ concerted efforts and initiate policies to attract both local and foreign investment.

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