The Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC), in conjunction with the Nigerian Network of NGOs (NNNGO) recently held its annual Customers /Stakeholders Workshop, with a focus on adequate water provision around the metropolis. Abimbola Akosile examines the forum's deliberations and potential impact on the thirsty populace
With the active support of the World Bank, the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC) has completed the implementation of the Second National Urban Water Reform Project (NUWRP) designed to increase access to piped water networks in selected Lagos urban areas.
With consumers and stakeholders appealing to the Corporation to build the capacity of the Leak Detection Unit to ensure that leakages from burst and leaking pipes (due to the increased water pressure in the pipes) are repaired in time.
Held in Surulere Local Government Council recently, the 2011 Annual Customers /Stakeholders workshop for Apapa-Amuwo Odofin-Surulere-Yaba-Ebute Metta sub-service areas turned out to be an occasion for stakeholders to highlight some unfavourable observations regarding the operations of the corporation.
Urban Water Reform
In a summary presentation of Customer Survey Synthesis Report by LWC CSO Partner and NNNGO Project Coordinator, Mr. Ayo Adebusoye, it was observed that the 2nd National Urban Water Reform was to improve the reliability and financial viability of the LWC and establish a citizens' participation system to ensure that water service provision reflects demands of all user groups.
According to Adebusoye, as part of efforts to achieve the stated objectives, "the fifth Customer Survey was undertaken by the LWC CSO Partner - NNNGO - in June 2011 for the Surulere/Apapa DSA identifying the 10 most important customer concerns. The survey sampling was a total of 250, comprising a representative sample of households, industries and commercial users in each service area."
The Project Coordinator added: "Commendably, 48 per cent of the respondents in the served population had water from LSWC supplied less than one week prior to the survey, with 50 per cent of the respondents confirming that they get LSWC water daily.
"The commissioning of the Oando Independent Power Project (IPP) at Akute appears to be responsible for this marked improvement in supply with nearly 30 per cent of the respondents now receiving 19-24 hours of water each day.
"In further confirmation, 67 per cent of the respondents said the pressure of water supplied by Lagos State Water Corporation was okay while 83 per cent further cited water supply as the main service aspect that elicits willingness to pay their bills, and 51 per cent of the respondents felt that the price charged by LWC was moderate.
"On a cautionary note, however, 40 per cent of all respondents rated the current performance of LSWC as poor, while a total of 60 per cent rated its services as fair, good and even excellent respectively."
Continued Adebusoye: "Another important point for LSWC to note is that 65 per cent of all respondents rated LSWC's procedure for applying for new connections and meters as difficult while 35 per cent rated the LSWC procedure as easy. Also 83 per cent of all the respondents stated that LSWC did not handle and respond to complaints and requests from customers.
"In conclusion, and as a result of the findings to energise the Leak Detection Unit and the Zonal Managers to work cooperatively to ensure that leakages from burst and leaking pipes are repaired urgently as this negatively affects the pressure and quantity of water supplied to customers, LSWC should ensure that there is zero tolerance for pipes laid in gutters to remove the incidence of taste, colour, sediments or contaminants in water supplied.
"Furthermore, the LGAs, CDAs and CBOs should be sensitised on a regular basis in this regard. They should also be encouraged to actively create awareness in the community of the availability of water complaint centres.
"Finally LSWC should embark on a programme of connecting the pipes that have already been laid but hitherto not connected now that the Oando Independent Power Project (IPP) at Akute is functioning in order to reach the unserved population."
A goodwill message from CSO Consultant 2nd NUWRP, Ms Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, through the Executive Director of NNNGO, Mr. Oyebisi Oluseyi, charged participants to rise up to the occasion for improved service delivery in the water sector.
She said the success of the LWC customers/stakeholders platform would lead the way to better services in other sectors.
He went further to unveil plans by the CSO partner to launch a mobile monitoring system for projects monitoring at the community level. The feedback mechanism, he said, which shall be piloted in Lagos, was awaiting the short code which would be disclosed upon approval.
The initiative, he added, would involve the use of SMS/voice message/email in the monitoring of projects and services, according to Mr. Kunle Idowu.
The NNNGO is the first generic membership body for civil society organisations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues. Established in 1992, NNNGO represents over 800 organisations ranging from small groups working at the local level, to larger networks working at the national level