Lagosians Evolve Survival Strategy Amidst Soaring Water Price

If has been discovered that some residents of Lagos State have resorted to boiling water from open wells, untreated boreholes and other unhygienic sources in order to get clean water for drinking. This is part of their coping strategies following the astronomical hike in cost of drinkable water by vendors.

The price of water has further gone up ,not only in Lagos but across major cities in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“We now boil our water rather than wasting money to buy pure water. At least it will serve us for drinking”, said a Lagos resident.

Sachet water which is water stored in small nylon bags is known popularly as “pure water” across Nigeria.

For decades, pure water remained the dominant source of drinkable water among Nigerians, until its price soared recently.

In the past, sachet water was sold for #5 per sachet while a bag containing 20 sachets of water was sold for less than 100 naira.

But now a sachet of water costs as high as between #15 and #20 while a bag goes for #250.

Also since last year, a small bottle of water has been sold for #100 as against #50 it was sold , while the big bottle is now 200 naira as against #100 except in big supermarkets.

Before, five and half bags of sachet waster was sold for 500 naira or a little above it, but now it goes for around 1000 naira.

Similarly, a pack of bottle water that was sold for #400, now sells for #600 and above.

Why has the price of both sachet and bottled water continues to go up drastically?

Responding,some dealers simply said that they were selling as they bought.

“I don’t know where we are heading to in this country, everything is very expensive. Imagine water is becoming unaffordable”, complained a water seller.

Some buyers of the commodity, also wondered why the price of both sachet and bottled water keeps skyrocketing.

Some water producers in the country had threatened to shut down production nationwide due to high of production materials.

The National President, Association for Table Water Producers, Mrs. Clementina Ativie at an event to commemorate this year’s world water Day, said going by the cost of production materials including nylon and chemicals, a bag of sachet water should not be sold for below 200 naira, otherwise the producers would be operating at a loss.

Ativie speaking during 2022 World Water Day Celebration

According to her, for a long time, producers had been bearing the extra cost and cannot continue to bear it as the materials have become quite expensive.

Mrs. Ativie therefore called on federal government to intervene by subsidizing water the way its doing in petroleum, so that it will remain affordable for all categories of Nigerians

“The economic realities of our time has placed heavy hands on us. I want to infer here that we need serious intervention from the government because, we are producing practically at a loss and can no longer cope with the high cost of production materials.

“I plead with all sense of responsibility that the government should hear us out for the simple reason that ATWAP plays vital role like the petroleum haulagers, because water is life.

“As it is now, we need Government intervention. Government intervention in the sense that subsidy shouldn’t be for petroleum products alone. Water is more essential than petroleum when it comes to human life.

“Therefore, we should be assisted and helped, even if it means giving us loans at single digit.

“During the COVID, other aspects of the economy were all compensated , but we in water business, were not. You go to bank to borrow money to do business, they will not give you because they think you might not be able to return it”.

Mrs. Ativie explained that a certain water production material that was sold for around 800 naira is now close to 2000 naira, with price continuously increasing from 5 to 15 percent per week.

She said selling sachet water at the current price portends danger, as so many producers have undermined the quality just to sell at cheaper price,thereby exposing the masses to water borne diseases.

Mrs. Ativie noted that more worrisome was that in some states, governments compelled producers not to jerk- up price, without considering the huge loss they face occasioned by soaring cost of materials.

Lagosians want the government to do something about the incessant hike in price.

According to them, if left unchecked, soon water will become like most imported commodities, that have become quite expensive because of high exchange rate.

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