Tag Archives: BBC

Urban gate-guarded communities’ water supply woes: Bangalore (India) vis-avis Lagos communities (Nigeria)

People who live in urban gate-guarded communities are affluent and can afford the cost of providing necessary amenities for their families. In Nigeria, the attraction of such highbrow communities usually centers around three considerations: adequate security, water supply and uninterrupted power supply.

These same considerations apply in India.

People who live in Bangalore, a gate-guarded community, are rich IT professionals, hence the reference to it as India’s “Silicon Valley”. They want and can afford the best for their families. In Nigeria the population of such communities is mixed consisting of successful young professionals and entrepreneurs.

What got this blogger interested in this topic was the short video provided by the BBC News on Bangalore, the ‘Indian silicon valley’. As a result of the increasing population pressure, the water supply in this community has reached breaking point.

This situation is the subject of the BBC video, Bangalore water woes: India’s Silicon Valley dries up. The web link to the the BBC video:

(http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-india)

And the subtitles of each frame are given below:

  • This is the first city in India which has actually physically run out of water.
  • Morning rush hour and these tankers take over Bangalore streets.
  • They are carrying precious commodity – water.
  • If we don’t supply water then there is no water for them.
  • Earlier these used to be wetlands.
  • At that time we were getting water at a depth of 300 feet.
  • Now it is 1,400 t0 1,500 feet.
  • Thousands of tankers haul millions of litres of water across Bangalore daily.
  • Bangalore is one of India’s fastest growing cities, its Silicon Valley.
  • But its traditional water sources are drying up and are also contaminated.
  • So many people now depend on water delivered by private tankers controlled by cartels sometimes called “water mafia”.
  • I would think in some form it does operate like a cartel but it’s something nobody wants to talk about openly.
  • Software professional Subir Bose lives in an upmarket gated complex.
  • Like the other 200 families here, he’s at the mercy of tanker operators.
  • Yes we are still getting water but the quality of water is suspect.
  • The negotiations have become tougher with them because the rates are going higher.
  • Bangalore has 400,000 bore wells diminishing its ground water.
  • It is estimated that about 400 t0 500 million litres of water must be extracted every day.

Mr. S. Vishwanath, a conservationist, says in conclusion of the video that “So if bore wells dry out the city starts to lose its lifeline. So the crisis is how to revive and keep these bore wells alive. Bangalore has been in water management since 1890s. So it needs to start to become a pioneer once again to solve the crisis that grips it”.

Currently the situation in Nigeria, i.e. heavy dependence on water tankers in high brow communities, is not caused by population pressure on the groundwater resources. Rather, it is caused by not paying due attention to proper water supply borehole location vis-à-vis location of onsite sanitation, poor borehole construction practices and skimping on borehole cost which is necessitated by having to drill down to up to 200 to 300 meters as noted by a Nigerian news-site, Naij.com, which states that if people in gate-guarded communities in Lagos want to have access to potable water without depending on groundwater they have to buy water from water tankers or drill deep boreholes.

In the case of Bangalore, the exponential increase in the number of boreholes necessary for the exploding population of this affluent community and the lowering of the water table to a point where groundwater abstraction cost becomes prohibitive has resulted in huge dependence on water tankers which calls for proper management of the groundwater resources in order to wean it from dependence on water tankers.

Lagos Island, where the highbrow communities are located, is characterized by:

  1. Shallow water-table.
  2. Absence of centralized sewerage system, hence the use of septic tank system for the disposal of household and human wastes.
  3. These septic tanks are usually about 3 meters deep.
  4. High cost of drilling deep boreholes (200-300 meters deep) which many household cannot afford.

P.S. Ola, O.M. Bankole and A.Y.B. Anifowose (2010) describe the area as having a complex lithology of alternating sequence of sand and clay deposits  up to a depth of about 270m. They delineated seven aquifer horizons at the following depths: 3-10m; 40-70m; 60-100m; 110-140m; 150-180m; 178-210m and 212- 240m, corresponding to aquifer thicknesses of 15-25m, 15-30m; 10-45m; 20-40m; 10-42m; 10-30m and 20-45m respectively.

If above four characteristics are considered each on its own or jointly for example, two of them, especially ‘1’ and ‘3’, they may be responsible for why water supply boreholes in Lagos Island area cannot be relied upon as a source of potable water for the following reasons:

  • Pathways through contamination from on-site sanitation can reach groundwater supplies are through the main body of the aquifer and pathways created by the design and construction of the water supply boreholes. These are called localized pathways.
  • As indicated above these areas are in the unconsolidated recent sediments. Aquifer vulnerability with respect to its contamination in Lagos Island will be a function of the intrinsic characteristics of this geologic terrain.  This vulnerability is dependent on travel time for water to move from ground surface to the water table. It is necessary to note that the water table of the near surface aquifer in this area is shallow. The greater the travel time the greater the opportunity for containment attenuation, hence the need for reliance on deep boreholes, and in addition great lateral distances between on-site sanitation and water supply boreholes will also offer the opportunity for containment attenuation. The latter requirement to ensure long travel time is a luxury in these areas because of the ubiquitous presence  of septic tanks.

Most of the gate-guarded communities on Lagos Island claim to have central water supply equipped with water treatment plants. The prices of properties are really high and one would expect that such communities would have top quality communal services, but some do not.

A company called Neighbourhood Review provides information on some of the Lagos communities, such as Greenland Estate, Cooperative Villa Estate, Femi Okunnu Estate, Cadogan Estate, Igbo Effon Estate, Royal Garden Estate, Thomas Estate,  Marshy Hills Estate and Chevy View Estate to mention a few.

Here are two of the reviews:

“Cooperative Villa Estate: The estate has a water supply unit but was not functional at the time of this review. All houses in the estate have their boreholes and reservoirs.

Femi Okunnu: The estate has a water supply unit but was not functional at the time of this review. All houses in the estate have their boreholes and reservoirs”.

Lessons learnt in the case of Bangalore are summarized above by Mr. S. Vishwanath, a conservationist, who recommends adequate water resources management. While in the case of Lagos Island, transparency concerning claims on infrastructural provision by the estate developers is necessary, especially with respect to provision of communal services.

Finally, there is a need for proper water supply borehole construction and effective public awareness concerning borehole location vis-à-vis on-site sanitation.

 

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Abuja Water Scarcity: Symptom of government Failure in Water Supply Delivery

 

Abuja Water Scarcity: A Symptom of government Failure in Water Supply Delivery

 by DEPO ADENLE

Two articles reproduced below demonstrate the pitiable situation of what happens when government fails in its duty to provide water. The first one appeared in the Daily Times of Nigeria of July3, 2012, while the second one is an article written by Andrew Walker of the BBC in 2009.

Water supply situation in most parts of the country will only improve if the huge funds that are always budgeted for water in annual budgets are not diverted into private pockets, and if planning is given its rightful place in the water sector. Today, it is common practice to publicize “constituency water project” by legislators at all levels. This is an uncoordinated approach to investing in water sector.

This blog has discussed corruption, uncoordinated efforts by all tiers of government and water projects that are unplanned for but embarked upon for the sake of politics ( see the following links:  https://weircentreforafrica.com/2011/08/31/corruption-in-…t-in-nigeria-2/

https://weircentreforafrica.com/2012/05/05/uncoordinated-…from-imo-state/

https://weircentreforafrica.com/2012/02/29/uncoordinated-…-in-kogi-state/

Finally, The Federal Capital Territory, where Abuja is located,  should be a model of reliable and efficient water delivery system for the State Water Agencies which are characterized by poor water supply delivery system  consequent upon lack of  planning, corruption and political interference.

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Sachet water goes for N20 in Abuja

Pure Water

A union enforced closure of factories results in scarcity

July 3, 2012 ,By Chris Onyeose

Daily Times of Nigeria

Sachet water, popularly known as pure water, has now become scarce commodity in Abuja following a reported shut down of all water factories in the city.

Due to this development, a sachet of water now sells for N20 and above; as against the normal price of N5. A bag of sachet now sell for N180 and above in few areas that it is still available; as against N100.

“We heard that the pure water producers are on strike and since then we don’t even see it again,” said Philip Asoka, a trader at Wuse Market. “Even when we do, I was shocked when they told me N20 for one pure water. Since then I don’t even have interest again as I now carry water from home to my shop.”

One of the producers, who did not want his name published, said that their union, Pure Water Sellers Association, directed producers to stop business so that inspections can be carried out in their factories to assess the conditions there.

“There is nothing we can do about this as it’s our directives,” he said. “Though we feel sorry for our customers and the hardship they are facing now, we just have to do what is needed and the union is ready to fine any producer who will flout the order N50,000.”

The water vendors of Nigeria

By Andrew Walker
BBC News, Abuja, NigeriaThursday, 5 February 2009
water vendor

Isa earns a hard living pushing a heavy water cart around the rutted streets of the suburbs of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

He is one of tens of thousands of water vendors who deliver jerry cans full of water to houses built without any kind of sanitation.

“Kai! it is hard work, pushing my cart,” the 20-year-old says.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, and according to analysts has made over $1.1 trillion in revenues from the oil industry over the last 30 years; but most Nigerians still rely on people like Isa for their water.

He and a dozen of his friends sleep in a makeshift shelter behind a small household goods shop.

They wake before dawn to queue up at a nearby borehole, where they fill 14 yellow 25-litre jerry cans on their handcarts before setting off around the streets looking for customers.

Heavy load

Fully loaded, the carts weigh at least 350kgs.

The roads they push them over are dirt tracks, rocky and pitted, with sewers running down the middle.

“In the future I want to get another job, but at least I make enough money to live doing this,” Isa says.

The urban poor pay more for water than the urban rich

Isa pays around 10 naira ($0.07, £0.05) per jerry can at the borehole and sells for double that.

He makes around 700 naira a day ($4.70, £3.20), to cover food and living costs.

A large Nigerian family may need around 10 of these jerry-cans every day, customers say.

That adds up to about $486 (£339) every year, a massive pressure on a country where the average person lives on $2 a day.

This is a pattern repeated around the world, according to the UN Development Programme.

The urban poor in developing world cities including Abuja pay much more for their water than citizens of rich cities such as New York or Tokyo, precisely because the poor have to depend on private providers rather a piped municipal supply.

Govenment failure

Virtually none of the suburbs of Nigeria’s capital city have what is known here as “pipe-borne water” provided by the government.

Private individuals have to drill boreholes for themselves.

They are most often fitted with two sets of taps – one for the household, and another facing the street so the owners can make a bit of money on the side.

John, a 25-year-old borehole manager, says the place he looks after in Nyanya Gwandara earns his boss 7,000 naira ($47, £32) a day.

“The man is from Kogi State where he lives, far away. He dug several boreholes in this area for an investment,” he says.

His customers are grateful.

“We cannot wait for the government to do anything, we are relying on other wealthy people to dig boreholes,” says Janet Daniels, who lives in the area.

She cannot afford to buy the water from the delivery boys, so comes every morning to the borehole to save money.

She fills two 20-litre buckets every morning and carries them on her head back to her home.

“I have to boil the water that we drink because its a very shallow borehole, and sometimes its got little particles of stuff in it.”

Otherwise the quality of the water from here is ok, she says.

Husseini, another water vendor working at a borehole in Nyanya Gwandara, says people like the water from this hole, and he even charges more for it on his rounds.

Scummy rivulets

But other water vendors try and find free sources of water like streams and ponds.

These scummy rivulets are often fed by the sewer-streams that run through the middle of the streets.

Diseases like polio, cholera and other types of gastric infection disproportionately affect those in poverty, who get water from bad streams.

Abuja, like other cities in Nigeria, is rapidly growing.

The government has fallen so far behind in providing water here, it may never catch up.

Over the last year the price of a jerry-can of water has doubled.

These problems will only get more acute, and the price of water will only go up.