Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday sought the buy-in of major stakeholders and Nigerians in the water and waste water service provision to ensure the success of the regulatory guidelines in the water sector.
The Governor who spoke at the 2020 Lagos Water stakeholders Conference held at the Muson Centre, Onikan through his Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello stated that their buy-in is essential to ensure that the water people is not only safe but in a safe environment.
He said the call by the administration on stakeholders has become necessary because it is generally accepted that the environmental regeneration programme in the water sector globally are now regulatory based and no government at any level can do it all alone.
He said the current water crisis in which almost half of the world’s population has no or insufficient access to clean water appeared to be an everyday occurrence which is referred to as governance crisis.
While speaking, Tunji Bello noted that the people created problems for themselves with the pollution of sources of clean water; unregulated sinking of boreholes; abuse and non-regeneration of water aquifers; possible occurrence of subsidence among others.
He stressed that these problems are matched only by the Government’s ability to create solutions and that the forum will come up with sustainable resolutions for repositioning water governance and regulatory dispensation in Lagos State as a whole.
In his words: “I hope this forum will come up with sustainable resolutions for repositioning water governance and regulatory dispensation in Lagos State. I am confident that with the various stakeholders and invited speakers present at this conference would leave here better informed on the importance of and need for governance and regulation in our water sector” he said.
He explained that good water management all over the world is one of the prerequisites of good governance adding that at the end of the Dutch Water Governance Centre (WGC) 2011, produced a brief memorandum in which five elementary building blocks for good water governance were developed.
He emphasized that without the building blocks , there can not be good water governance and these include a powerful administrative organization of water management; a legally embedded system of water law; and adequate financing system; a systematic (planning) approach and the participation of stakeholders.
He stated that at the inception of this administration, it pledged to create a safe, healthy and conducive environment for the good people of the state and has continued to demonstrate its commitment to the pledge through its various environmental regeneration programmes, one of which is the enthronement of a regulatory regime in the water sector.
He thereafter called on all and sundry to join the train of collective transformation of the state while assuring that the present government will continue to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the water sector.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Sulaiman Adamu Stated that it is imperative for the State Government and Federal Government to synergize in order to ensure there is provision of portable water for all citizens at all time.
The Minister who spoke through the Executive Director, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, Engr. Magashi Umar stressed that the Government must ensure the implementation of water regulations law so as to find a lasting solution to the water sector.
In her welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Water Regulatory Commission, Mrs. Funke Adepoju, expressed appreciation to the State Government for placing high premium on the provision of clean, safe and quality water in a sustainable environment calling on Lagosians to see themselves as stakeholders and ensure the realisation of the vision.
The Guest Speaker, from Osmotek, South Africa Mr. Julius Steyn, said Lagos State has the ability to serve as a benchmark for the rest of the world bearing in mind the state posses the technological know how and renowned personnels.
He explained that the payment for water in Lagos State was under valued and affordable when compared to other parts of the world where water is very expressive and difficult to access. One of the highlights of the conference was the unveiling of Borehole permit for drillers and residents as well as four different books on water resources management and regulations by the the Governor and others.