Lagos Water hold annual stakeholder workshop

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With the early arrival of the Group Managing Director of Lagos Water Corporation, Engr. Shayo Holloway, and with his close lieutenants in tow, it was obvious that the workshop sessions had been deigned to be both informative and educative.

And so with a warm welcome address by the Executive Director of Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) Mr. Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, who used the occasion to thank participants for honouring the invitation. He said it’s been over a year that NNNGO was consulted to create an interface between Lagos State Water Corporation and the consumers.

Mr. Oyebisi drew the attention of the participants to LWC Master Plan and appealed to his audience to support the efforts of LWC and the Lagos state Government in providing potable water for Lagosians by paying their bills promptly, reporting major burst pipes to water officials in their locality, maintain/repair minor pipe breakages on their properties before they transit to major breakages, avoid laying pipes in gutters which could be injurious to healthy living, desist from illegal connections and laying of pipes and conserve water by minimizing unnecessary wastages.

In her paper titled: Engaging Customers In Order to Serve Them Better, Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, the CSO Consultant, World Bank 2nd Urban Water Project, shed more light on the Lagos Water Stakeholders’ Policy. Ransome-Kuti described the document as unique in the sense that “there is no other agency that is taking stakeholders’ involvement as seriously as our Policy which clearly sets out responsibilities, strategies and actions.”

She drew the attention of all to the fact that the policy highlights responsibilities of stakeholders, challenges and solutions, roles of CSOs and NGOs and funding elements. “Everyone belongs to one civil society organization or religious body that could be used to ensure actions on water quicker and more effective. Everybody must see himself or herself as stakeholder when going through this Water Policy.

“Capacity building and training should be embraced. Individuals are responsible to understanding intricacies of water distribution while acting as checks and monitors for the process. Indeed, the Policy sets to bridge existing gaps between the government and the people, to monitor, check and ensure getting safe water. Water is an economic good that must be paid for and not be seen as a free lunch.”

Concluding, Ms. Ransome-Kuti said “there are ongoing processes to ensure water tariff issues are dealt with. It is the responsibility of CDAs to ensure that people in their domain pay their bills regularly. A direct benefit of the policy is that accountability can be demanded for, monitoring and evaluation strategies are developed, engagement of regulatory commission to ensure proper tariffs are set, consultations with CSOs and synergizing to ensure duplication is avoided.”

Delivering the keynote address on “Addressing Water Provision in Rapidly Growing Cities: The Lagos State Experience,” the Group Managing Director of Lagos Water Corporation, Engr. Shayo Holloway said Lagos State Water Corporation is the largest in the Sub-Saharan Africa. It is larger than Ghana Water Corporation that serves the entire Ghanaian populace.”

On daily basis, the GMD said an average of 1,000 people migrate into Lagos State. Water demand for Lagos is 540million gallons per day. The Corporation is at a total installed (not operational) capacity of 210 million gallons per day as at present. Power has been one of the greatest challenges impeding constant water supply.

Continued Mr. Holloway, “Lagos State Water Corporation has 48 mini water works with capacity of 1 million to 3.2 million gallons per day and this is supported by 3 major water works namely: Adiyan 7 million gallons per day, Iju 4.5 million gallons per day, Isasi 4 million gallons per day.
Power plants power 2 major water works at Iju and Adiyan. By 2020 Lagos is going to be the third largest mega city in the world. Water demand by then will be 733 million gallons per day. A master plan was developed in 2010 and formally launched in 2011 to address the challenges and ensure the production of 745 million gallons per day. The total cost is 3.5 million US Dollars. To achieve this sum it will cost the state’s total budget for 29 months.

To achieve the objective, partnering with private sector is the only way to go. There are private partners from some Asian countries working to ensure a total of 50 million gallons per day are generated at a water works in Badagry to service consumers in Badagry to Mile 2. By 2016, Adiyan water project will be able to produce 70 million gallons per day. A water works which is to serve consumers in Epe to Victoria Island will be sited in Epe. The water works project will be carried out in 3 phases.

The current water tariff in Lagos state is 5k per liter, an equivalent is paying N50 for 5 drums of 250 litre capacities. Tariffs review must be done but the presently good quality service delivery is the focus. Sooner an upward tariff review will be inevitable.
Engr Holloway concluded by appealing to the consumers to bear with the Lagos State Water Corporation as a lot is being sown and germination will soon show.

A formidable team of Lagos Water Senior officers that formed the Panelists that examined the topic: (A) Water Service Delivery in Lagos State, Challenges and Prospects (B) Enhancing Citizens Financial Responsiveness, Thoughts from NGOs, CDAs & the Private Sector did their very best to enlighten the participants on the grey areas.

According to Engr. Deji Johnson (Operations) If all installed capacity is functioning at one hundred percent the maximum volume of water that will be pumped will be 210 million gallons per day. Demand of 545 million gallons per day is based on 2010 data. Demand therefore far exceeds production even at one hundred percent functioning. There is no doubt that there has been lack of investment in the Corporation for a very long time. To run water project successfully a recurrent capital is required.

Engr. Ogunsola (Intelligence)
Lagos State Water Corporation is huge hence the need for intelligence monitoring through ICT installed equipment. The intelligence unit works with Distribution Department. Each zone is supposed to have material supply but funding has been a challenge. Requests sent to the main office sometimes take a while for processing and approval. Road contractors are to be monitored to avoid damages to water pipes.
One of the roles of the department is to check balance between demand and supply.

Dr. (Mrs.) Balogun (Quality Assurance)
The department ensures quality of water free of water borne diseases.
Every water works has a micro laboratory for water sample analysis and analysis of chemicals used in water production. Vandalisation of water pipes opens the water system to pollution. Vandalized pipes are to be reported for immediate repair. The department sets up booster stations to inject disinfectant (chlorine) into the channel so that if there is any pollution it will be disinfected and water will get to the consumers in good quality. Consumer dirty tanks sometimes are source of water pollution.

Engr. Karimu (Production)
There are 48 mini water works and 3 major water works in the State.
Ajiyan produces 70 million gallons per day
Iju 45 million gallons per day
Isasi 4 million gallons per day
Ota Ikosi 4 million gallons per day
All operators in production department work in shift and are monitored by the Quality Assurance department. The department is also regulated by ministry of health and LACEPA. Laboratory at Iju Water Works is recommended for water sample analysis.
In production department attention is paid to maintenance to avoid breakdown in production. Investors can be involved in water project under regulations to produce required quality and quantity.

Water processing involves extracting water from rivers through the intakes where the water is pumped into the treatment plant. At the water works the chemicals recommended are used. Alum is used to coagulate it from where it is sent into flocculation and sedimentation tanks. Heavy particles are filtered aware here. Inside a filter are treated filter sand and from there water is floated into another tank contained of Calcium Carbonate to increase the Ph to 7 – 8.5. Water goes into underground reservoir then to overhead where it goes to the public. Averagely it takes a minimum of seven hours for the purification process to be completed and delivered to the public.

Engr. Elemoso (Distribution)
Pipes are destroyed by activities of different construction and telecommunication companies. Damaged pipes get dried when production is stopped at water works. Dirt from underground enters the Lagos State Water Corporation channels and the water becomes polluted.
CSOs should bring together companies that engage in ground digging activities in a forum for the Corporation to interact with them. Customers are to approach zonal offices closest to them to be connected to the Corporation’s water channel. There is need to educate the children on water conservation. CDAs can partner with the Corporation in purchasing and laying of pipes in lieu of the bills they are to pay.

Mr. Olu Young (Commercial)
Harsh economic reality and the burden of other taxes/tariffs to be paid make customers hostile to field workers at the discharge of their duties.
Lagos State Water Corporation has resolved to make roles of staff clearer and reduce size of management to a more manageable proportion.
The Corporation now has ‘Large Corporate’ under the commercial department. Large Corporate unit handles water services to hotels, car wash, dry cleaners and companies.

On weekly basis revenue review meeting session with representation from all the zones is held; where field activities and collection efficiencies are discussed.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Diran Akingba, the Executive Director, Finance & Administration, said financial sustainability measures the degree to which an organization gets revenue in excess of cost of operation in the process of providing products to its customers thus resulting in net surplus revenue.The smaller the net surplus revenue the weaker the financial sustainability.

He elaborated further by saying that an organization that generates net deficit is not financially sustained. As financial sustainability equals financial surplus. While financial un-sustainability equals financial deficit, the key symptom of financial un-sustainability is repeated or prolonged failure in providing services or products to consumers. The bigger the net surplus revenue, the stronger the financial sustainability.

On the Corporation’s Short term plan (next twelve months) Mr. Akingba said the Corporation is set to achieve financial sustainability through:
• Increase recurrent funds from the government.
• Improve safe water collection efficiency
• Improve building efficiency

While Long term plan is to keep up Public Private Partnership and aim for higher water sales tariffs.

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Article by Seyi Oyebisi

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