The Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO) is poised to strengthen the regulatory framework and institutional capacity towards efficient and effective regulation of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector
The overall objective is to progressing towards universal access to water and sanitation services as enshrined in the United Nations SDG Goal 6.
According to a statement by Otaru Adegoke, the Chief Public Relations Officer, LASWARCO, he said that the Commission in collaborating with WaterAid Nigeria under the leadership of its Country Director, Evelyn Mere which has embarked on a study tour of the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) Zambia, in furtherance of its efforts to improve service delivery by the water and wastewater utilities.
Executive Secretary of LASWARCO, Mrs. Funke Adepoju, said the study tour to NWASCO which is reputed as a world-class regulator of water supply and sanitation services became expedient in view of the need to strengthen the institutional capacity of LASWARCO for WASH regulation in Lagos State for supervisory oversight of the Service Provider (LWC) in a manner that will improve service delivery and pave the way for significant and sustainable engagement in water supply and wastewater management while protecting the interests of consumers.
“Regulatory effectiveness is a core driver of improved water and sanitation services. Active regulation involves incremental change, extensive consultation, and testing.
“As a Commission, we have a mandate under the Lagos State Environmental Management Protection Law (2017) to protect consumers interests regarding quality, price, and reliability of services provided by both the public and private operators, to review standards of performance of services towards license utilities, set tariffs, develop guidelines or provision of WASH facilities, establish and enforce standards for water supply or sanitation services with the aim of ensuring that water supply and sewerage services are properly carried out without compromising vital ecosystems.
“The ever-increasing population of Lagos State has undoubtedly put intense pressure on the institutions providing basic social services in the State. However, the State government is sparing no effort in providing affordable and equitable access to clean and safe drinking water for all residents by the administration of Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu as he is particularly committed to the wellbeing of residents and protecting the environment as enshrined in the health and environment component of the THEMES Agenda” she said.
Giving further details, Adepoju said: “The visit to Zambia is essentially to study and understand the basic factors responsible for the rapid progress achieved in regulating the WASH sector of the country in recent times, especially how the country responded to its WASH crisis and the steps taken to turn around their water supply and sanitation crisis, including the models applied, sources of funding, challenges faced and lessons learnt.
“The visit also afforded us the opportunity to have a clear understanding of the policy statements in terms of content and context that generated a rapid positive response to reforming the WASH sector, as well as the processes and procedure that informed the positive response of both government officials and the citizenry to the reform.
“We also shared notes on how Private Sector Engagement and intervention of non-state actors is operating in the WASH sector, especially the role of government as the regulator of Private Sector Engagement at ensuring the sustainability of the system, while also discussing how regulation through NWASCO is helping to improve access to clean water and management of wastewater in the country.”
On his part, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Office of Drainage and Water Resources, Engr. Lekan Shodeinde emphasized the need for regulation towards ensuring that operators are kept on their toes to provide the best services for consumers.
“The monitors and inspectors from NWASCO are monitoring their people and ensuring that utilities are kept on their toes to do what they are supposed to do for the people. The bottom line is that the people should get the best service.
“The level of dedication from the enforcement arm is awesome as all hands are on deck. It shows that a lot can be done for the water sector in terms of getting people access. The importance, therefore, of regulation is that it positively impacts service delivery. The good thing is that Lagos State already has a Regulatory Commission and part of strengthening the institution for better utility performance is the reason for this trip,” Shodeinde said.
The visit to the Shimabala Pumping Station, Iolanda water intake and waterworks, booster Station at Chilanga, and the main Stuart Park Reservoirs in Lusaka waterworks revealed a hundred percent capacity utilization.
The Lagos State delegation, led by Shodeinde, was received by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation, Republic of Zambia, Joe Kalusa; The Managing of Director of the Lusaka Water and Sewage Company, Jonathan Kampata; the Director of the National Water and Sanitation Council (Regulator); the Director-General of the Water Resource Management Authority, and Country Director, WaterAid Zambia, Pamela Chisanga.