The Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Stakeholders canvass access to sustainable, climate-resilient water services

The Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC) has urged the public and private sector to synergise towards ensuring that every child has access to sustainable and climate-resilient water services.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, Muminu Badmus, made the call at the opening of maiden edition of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) essay competition organised by the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE) in conjunction with Lagos Water Corporation for Secondary Schools.

He said governments and major stakeholders must approach the problem of water shortage with renewed vigour and insights, stressing that there was a need for attitudinal shift in the way water and sanitation crisis is approached.

He said: “Globally, one in five children does not have enough water to meet their daily needs. Therefore, if we would be able to fulfill our duties to them, we must work hard to ensure every child has access to sustainable and climate-resilient water services.”

Badmus said the event underscores the importance of improved water and sanitation facilities to promote hand washing and prevent diseases.

“Regular hand washing is one of the best ways to remove germs, and avoid getting sick, but how do we regularly wash our hands, if we cannot have access to clean water?

Having clean water and sanitation means being able to avoid exposure to countless diseases, seeing as millions of people die every year from diseases caused by inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Areas without adequate access to clean water and hygiene were rendered vulnerable and unprepared to fight the outbreak because they could not practice frequent hand washing with soap and water, but that is not all,” he said.

He noted that the United Nations had decided that this year’s World Water Day’s theme should be ‘accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis’. According to him, this implies that governments must work at least four times faster than the latest pace to meet the Sustainable Development Goal six (SDG 6), which states that everyone should have safely managed water and sanitation by 2030.

National Chairman, NIMechE, Mrs. Funmilade Akingbagbohun, said the competition is expected to challenge participants to think creatively, formulate ideas and solutions towards deepening practical understanding of WASH and various means of achieving Sustainable Development Goal six. She said Lagos is hosting the competition as a pilot project for the country.

“The competition is in three stages, which will end with the final on March 22, a day set aside by the United Nations to mark World Water Day. Over 30 secondary schools are participating from six districts of Lagos State. We must ensure that there is good water in every community.

“Access to good water will reduce health issues, sanitation and ensure healthier nation. The youths are key stakeholders in building sustainable sanitation. They can influence behavioural change at the grassroots level. Therefore, getting youth actively engaged in the process of sanitation provision, in every way possible, is a game changer, ” she said.