A non-governmental organisation, WaterAid Nigeria, has said that access to sustainable and equitable safe drinking water remained a challenge in Nigeria.
Mrs Evelyn Mere, WaterAid Nigeria Country Director, stated this in a good will message presented at the 2021 Lagos International Water Conference.
The theme of the conference was: “Water Security and Investment Opportunities in Megacities: A Case of Lagos State”.
Mere disclosed that over 60 million people in Nigeria lacked access to basic water supply.
“Poor drinking water quality and a lack of equity in access compound the problem.
“Our changing climate is making life harder for the poorest people in Nigeria, who are already struggling to get clean water right,” Mere said.
She said that the water demand in Lagos by 2025 was estimated to be about 780 million gallons per day.
Mere noted that an annual sector spending of about N300 billion was required to meet the huge water demand.
She said that the theme of the conference was not only timely but crucial to tackle the challenges in the sector.
“We estimate the total cost of achieving SDG6 in Nigeria to be 2.1 billion dollars a year in capital operations and maintenance.
“Comparatively, current public spending from both government and donors, stands at only 393 million dollars.
“There is, therefore, a massive annual financing gap to address,” Mere said.
She noted that the cost of not investing in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector exceeds the cost of investing.
According to her, it is impossible to quantify the impacts of poor water and sanitation on livelihoods, health, child development, productivity, education, gender, and security outcomes.
Mere said that WaterAid was proud to partner the Lagos State Government through the Lagos Water Regulatory Commission to address the gaps in the sector.
She said the partnership would not only regulate the WASH sector in Lagos state and as well mobilise multiple stakeholders in addressing the most pressing need of the WASH sector globally.