Is there really a need for a special separate law on borehole drilling regulation in Lagos State or any part of Nigeria?
Agreed,there are obvious disadvantages of over reliance on ground water drilling. There is the ground water contamination, which excessive water abstraction through boreholes causes, as un-managed surface wastewater suctions into the deep ground water aquifer .
Hydrologists also reckon under ground stratification stands the risk of exposure to earth quakes as subsoil geological structure vitiates due to constant water removal, water mining and the exclusion of water from soil.
But there are existing standards in place regulating boreholes. For minor residential developments, it behooves on recommending town planning officers to ensure the minimum distances between proposed underground water sources and septic tanks or pits meet up with standard (30m by UN standards).
For major landuses ranging from residential uses above 4 dwelling units, commercial, industrial, institutional, inter alia, soil tests and environmental impact statements are part of the prerequisites for approval that should, amongst others, address the optimality of the ground water source in terms of whether the carrying capacity of development's milieu is not overstretched ; adequacy of the potential water yields; as well as the location .
What Lagos or any part of Nigeria needs are working master plans that consider beyond the rudimentary zoning and land use compatibility but also envisaging utilities provisioning, functionality of facilities, and environmental harmony as preconditions for sustainable development.
Who needs a borehole, when for every neighborhood of say 5000 households, there is a waterworks that supplies 4 million liters of water per day, and every building can be connected to the mains via conduits ?
In a country where settlements are 'institutional deserts ' (neglected by government ), and water access is still less than 30%, any attempt to discourage the quest to eke out means of achieving self sufficiency in water provisioning is tantamount to deprivation of rights to existence.
Written By Olasunkanmi Olapeju