The Lagos State Commissioner for The Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare has restated that the State Government is yet to introduce charges for the consumption of water from boreholes neither has it criminalised the sinking of boreholes in Lagos.
The Commissioner, who stated this recently in his Office at Alausa while responding to questions from news correspondents, noted that the environment protection and management Law recently signed by Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State would not in any way prevent people’s access to good and potable water.
For commercial users of boreholes, Adejare stressed that some measure of control and charges were applicable as water is a resource that must be protected.
He said that the requirement for permits should not be misconstrued for indiscriminate charges as registration of all boreholes in the State was necessary for the government to have an inventory of the sources and quality of water used by people in the State and track sources of pollution of the underground water.
In his words, “The essence of obtaining permit is not for pecuniary gain, but to create and enhance a database of boreholes, ascertain quality of water being consumed by Lagosians and track the sources of underground water pollution.
“Without a doubt, water is a resource that ought to be protected and this is why the government recognizes the need to minimize the pollution of the underground water by controlling indiscriminate sinking of boreholes which is a factor contributing to such pollution,” he maintained.
The Commissioner posited that no responsible government would fold its arms and allow uncontrolled pollution of the underground water through indiscriminate sinking of boreholes as boreholes are windows into the aquifer, adding that, “by controlling the sinking of boreholes, we would have done a lot to curtail the outbreak of water borne diseases”.
He stated further that the law on water charges was not part of the new law recently signed by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as it had been in existence since 2004 to control indiscriminate sinking of boreholes, and that the law was not meant to encumber the people.
Adejare described commercial usage of boreholes as the consumption of minimum of 50 drums per day, stressing that no individual or household could use 50 drums in a day, except for commercial purpose. He added that only commercial users such as soft-drink manufacturers and water production plants will be asked to pay.
The Commissioner emphasised that the present administration is not anti-people as it is always out to protect the interest of the people as well as carry them along in its policies and programmes in line with its inclusive governance stance.