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As water scarcity hits Lagos, indiscriminate borehole drilling may lead to tremors

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Lagos State has been beset by a serious water scarcity.

The immediate cause is unknown but an environmental rights activist, Akinbode Matthew Oluwafemi, ascribes the problem to corruption, policy somersaults, antiquated infrastructure, low budgetary provisions, bad management and low government attention to the water sector among many others.

Lagosians trying to get water from a borehole tap.

According to Oluwafemi, “The city’s daily water demand is far beyond the production by the municipal utility Lagos Water Corporation (LWC). The utility does not even deliver half of the needed amount of 540 million gallons water per day, leaving Lagos with a huge shortage of about 320 million gallons.”

In an article published in URBANET, a journal on Municipal and Local Governance, Sustainable Urban Development and Decentralisation, the activist drilled the problem down to the failure of the Lagos State – Visionscape PPP deal.

It would seem the present Sanwo-Olu led administration has not found a way around the problem as the taps no longer trickle but have gone totally dry.

The water scarcity in Lagos State has led to the indiscriminate drilling of boreholes by residents, while some magnanimous borehole owners have opened their taps to public use.

According to a study, Environmental Implications of Indiscriminate Drilling of Borehole for Fresh Water (A Case Study of Karishi, FCT Abuja) by Project Championz, “When there is indiscriminate drilling of borehole for fresh water, the area runs a risk of saline intrusion when ground water is over extracted especially if the area in question is located close to the coast of the sea or ocean.”

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“It also means that something has to go in there to take its place otherwise in the future the area may run the risk of having landslides etc. which may consequently reach the surface and affect structures and infrastructures around the site.”

“These holes may in the future develop into cracks which may lead to faults in the earth.”

“Moreover, pumping out ground water from much water borehole point will lead to a reduction in the level of ground water.”

“This means that people have to drill farther down to get enough water to sustain pumping.”

“Those that have shallow wells will no longer get water unless they go deep into the aquifer.”

“It will therefore cost more in future to drill to a realistic sustainable depth in the aquifer if one desires to have a borehole in other words recharge will be low.”

In 2018, Karishi, Abuja, was the site of earth tremors, which, according to a Presidential Committee headed by the Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, Seidu Mohammed, was as a result of indiscriminate drilling of boreholes.

Lagos has not been known to experience earth tremors.

In February, the Lagos Water Corporation apologised to the Lagos residents, particularly, those that have been affected with the current disruption of water supply in the State.

This was contained in a statement released by the Corporation on Tuesday 2th February 2021 in Lagos .

The Corporation attributed the current water disruption to technical problem presently faced at their Major Water Plants.

LWC however assured Lagos residents that efforts are ongoing to restore potable water supply soon, adding that the Corporation will not toy with the emotions of Lagosians.

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Explaining further, the LWC stressed that the Corporation is undoubtedly committed to supply potable water to every home in the State.

Apologising to Lagosians for the inconvenience caused during this period, the Corporation thanked them for their patience, understanding and cooperation.

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