During a side meeting at the United Nations (UN) Climate Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu called for long-term financing to address the state’s water infrastructure shortage and ensure adequate water supply for its growing population.
The meeting, held on Friday under the theme “Valuing Water: A Lifeline in Climate Transition,” was organized by the Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum and the Sustainable Market Initiative at the ongoing 28th session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) at Dubai Exhibition Centre.
Governor Sanwo-Olu presented a sustainable funding proposal aimed at mobilizing private and philanthropic capital to address the state’s inadequate water infrastructure and supply shortages. He highlighted that Lagos, with a population of 22 million, has a daily demand for 700 million gallons of potable water, but the state can only supply 210 million gallons per day due to infrastructure constraints.
Emphasizing the importance of clean water as an essential element of economic necessity, Governor Sanwo-Olu noted that Lagos faces increasing demand for clean water. He expressed concern that the inadequacy of supply infrastructure could raise disease vulnerability in underserved communities, pointing out that the state, despite being surrounded by abundant water bodies, can only utilize 40% of its installed water facilities.
“Lagos has an investment of about $2.8 billion in water infrastructure, but there is a burden on the huge population,” Governor Sanwo-Olu stated. “We need to create an ecosystem where we can have access to basic needs in the 21st century. Given our meagre resources, it is really a challenge, but we certainly cannot continue to give excuses. This gap is being felt by underserved communities, and the risk to the public is high.”
To address this challenge, Governor Sanwo-Olu proposed a long-term financing strategy that would leverage private and philanthropic investments. He called for a global partnership to address the $1.7 trillion gap in clean water adequacy, noting that Lagos requires less than one percent of these funds to provide safe water for its residents.
Sanwo-Olu also highlighted the impact of the country’s energy crisis on water provision, emphasizing that irregular power supply renders resources allocated to the sector inefficient. He urged global funders to ensure equity in water infrastructure investments, emphasizing that all people, regardless of their location, deserve equal access to clean water.
With a young population of 65% under the age of 30, Governor Sanwo-Olu presented Lagos as a prime investment destination, emphasizing the state’s potential for global economic productivity. He concluded by reiterating the need for long-term financing and collaboration to address Lagos’ water infrastructure shortage and ensure a sustainable water supply for its growing population.