By Adeola Ogunrinde
Lagos State government has reaffirmed its position on issuance of regulatory permits to borehole drillers operating in the state.
The government said the regulatory permit is to avoid the depletion of groundwater resources and bring about effective water governance, management and appropriate regulations by the state.
At a stakeholders’ engagement organised by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission, LASWARCO, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, said that the government must protect the water space particularly the ground water.
Wahab who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Mr. Engineer Mahmood Adegbite said water is a common resource, adding that its environmental sustenance lies on its management and regulations.
“The very first thing is to understand the fact that we need to treat ground water as a rare resource. It is such an important resource of the state that we need to manage in a sustainable manner.
“So we are calling on players in the water space, drillers, to work with the government together. We are going to a destination that works for everybody. You need a license from the regulatory commission, we want to know who is doing what and where, it’s based on class, if you’re in class A, this is what you can do.
Wahab called on stakeholders to collaborate with the state to manage ground water resources, harping on the need to start using data to deal with issues.
Earlier, Executive Secretary of LASWARCO, Funke Adepoju noted that the move was necessary to ensure regulations are adhered to and enforcement will be strengthened to allow total compliance by all stakeholders to safeguard the environment.
“The essence of the stakeholders meeting is to say let us assume we do not know so, we are telling you and telling the world this is what operates in Lagos, the Regulatory Commission is not to punish anyone, but to ensure compliance with regulatory provisions as mandated by the law within the state.”
“They need a license as a driller and secondly whoever is having commercial borehole needs a permit, eventually when you finished drilling, we need to have a borehole completion report, from those reports state can gather data for planning and we expect that the borehole should also have identification plate that will be issued by the commission and probably with Code. You can put it out there, anytime anybody needs data, it also supports data. We need to do a water audit to know what they are taking. We have to save the environment, because it’s the main resource that they use, they need to operate with responsibility within Lagos State.”
In his presentation, a Professor from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Olufemi Idowu described the engagement as an opportunity to take informed decisions and a trajectory to promote sustainable development.
While speaking on the Socio-Economic impact of unregulated groundwater abstraction in a sedimentary terrain, A case of Lagos State, Idowu said “If Groundwater is not regulated with increasing population over exploitation water quantity will diminish.
The commission must put a lot of things in place, to ensure that the guidelines are effective is not enough to put guidelines in place, must be effective so as to make the purpose for which we have put in place and one of the ways is this kind of engagement and then the need to make the people understand that it’s for their own benefits “