Makoko Water Solutions

Makoko Water Solutions
The Problem
The Makoko Floating School is designed to adapt to the resident communities’ lifestyle; it is built by local materials such as timber and bamboo, and it utilizes sustainable techniques and features including applications for solar cells on the roof, rainwater catchment systems, and composting toilets.
Lessons Learned
Solutions from Across Africa
Stakeholders & Institutions
- Built on water but lack of access to clean and safe drinking water
- Considered an “illegal settlement” so severe lack of
government investment results in city needing to be self
sufficient: 70 % of the families in Makoko lack public
- Most water is provided to citizens through private small
entrepreneurs who dig up groundwater and sell it on different
locations around Makoko. On average, a family in Makoko
spends 31 USD per month on ground water
- Health implications resulting from unclean water
in Makoko are vast; typhoid, malaria, diarrhea,
and cholera are widespread
- Life expectancy of Makoko residents is under 40 years
- Successes
- The water privatization that already exists in Lagos has proven successful in
providing safe drinking water. This is in accordance with studies focusing on
infrastructure privatization in Africa overall. Studies show that privatizations have
numerous benefits, including efficiency gains, stable and reduced prices, and
reduced government subsidies.
- The gap in water supply that currently exists is partly met by
informal water supply vendors, so called Mairuwa. Although this
alternative has limitations, it is a mean for families to get access
- Failure
- The Lagos Water Corporation’s solutions to increase the supply of clean and
reliable water through focusing on improving current water infrastructure has not
been enough. The water demand gap in 2014 was 300 MGD. Major challenges
to improve Lagos’ current water infrastructure include lack of skilled manpower,
limited funding, low level of productivity, and low levels of efficiency.
- Lagos Water Corporation aims to fund the Lagos State Water
Supply Plan 2010-2020 partly through private funding; despite
fundraising campaigns, Lagos Water Corporation has not been
able to attract enough investors.
- Water Pouches
- Polyethylene pouches are used to store potable
water and transported over distances to be
sold in easily mobile and individual quantities of
- LifeStraw
- As mentioned in the opportunities section,
LifeStraw has been deployed in Kenya to
success by the company‘s reporting
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Rainwater harvesting methods are collect natural rainwater and storage the contents in a reservoir. The reservoir is connected to a pump which the community can use to access clean water
- Gravity Flow Water Systems
- In locations that where the terrain is more mountainous or hill, a stream or
body of water from a higher location can be tapped and pumped into a
reservoir which is physically at a lower topography. This allows gravity to
naturally push water into a reservoir which is connected to a pump within a
- Hand pump
- Installed pumps atop subterraneous water
sources, communities can individually pump
water from the ground with this basic technology
- Rope Pump
- Used in Burkina Faso, this is similar to a water hand pump, but
the processes is automated by a lever connected to a wheel,
which when spun will shuttle groundwater to the surface,
augmenting efficiency of the volume of water pumped per
- Boreholes
- Used in Malawi, when the earth surface is difficult to penetrate
or fresh water is deep below ground, a hydraulic borehole rig
can be employed to dig holes in excess of 100m in order to
source fresh groundwater
- Current Working Solutions
- Mairuwa
- Meaning ’water-owner‘ in Hausa (one of Nigeria’s national languages) are
the most common informal water solution. They are individuals who queue
and collect water from public taps and deliver to individual households
and areas where there is no water. No guarantee that the water is potable.
- Household boreholes and wells
- The majority of formal households (as opposed to slum settlements) in Lagos
rely on private boreholes. Manually drilled boreholes are unregulated and are not
a guaranteed source of drinking water - many provide contaminated water (e.g.
with salt, micro-organisms). In addition, there is an environmental risk from so
many individual boreholes.
- Public taps
- Future Solutions
- Floating Communities
- Given a small ecosystem of newly-built and self-sustainable floating communities, rain waiter harvest and purification methods could be employed en masse to support that greater community with drinking water. Rain water purification methods would need to be parsed out into a detailed plan with proper technologies in place. Thus far, NLE Studios (the studio that has designed the
Floating School schematic) has only alluded to rain water purification systems in their architecture but with noactionable evidence of this capability thus far.
- LifeStraw
- Hyper-mobile innovations like the LifeStraw could be used in
Makoko for relatively micro-level water purification. LifeStraw
has been deployed in Western Kenya to success, with hundreds
of schools provided access to clean drinking water.
- Bicycle Water Purifier
- Developed by Japanese company Nippon Basic, the Bicycle water
purification system filters water, powered by the rotation of the bike pedals.
If this technology could be slightly re-engineered to be powered by the
movement of a boat, mobile filtration methods could be developed, custom
to Makoko
- The Watercone
- Solar powered water filtration to potentially be used atop floating communities
- Government
- The Government is reluctant to recognize Makoko as a legitimate
community as demonstrated by its 2013 destruction of several housing
structures. We assume that based on the governments actions, any
long-term prospective solutions will face political barriers to entry in
- Community
- Makoko community
- The community is not welcoming to outsiders. According to the Guardian‘s
photographer, John Vidal, "[i]t is dangerous to go in without guides, and
volatile" (Vidal, 2005). This makes it hard to get reliable information about the
water situation, hard to develop, test and role out new solutions, regardless of
the potential to increase access to potable water.
- Existing water solution stakeholders
- There is resistance to expanding government or new, private
solutions from those who currently deliver the existing working
solutions. These stakeholders include formal water truck lobbies
and informal gangs.
- Makoko suffers from a severe lack of infrastructure.  Thus potable water is brought it from long distances by way of boreholes or Mairuwa who sell clean drinking water.  The lack of insfrastructure, including proper water drainage, piping for clean water, clean water plumbing systems, water sanitization plants, waste disposal and intermittent electricity supply will cause substantial difficulty for any non-mobile source of water sanitation as any water sanitation innovation will need to be self-sustaining or independent in order to reliably produce a consistent
potable water supply.
- Infrastructure
- Black market for water
- Due to the lack of available clean drinking water, a black market
for trading water has arisen whereby locals travel up north to
obtain clean water from bore holes or other clean water sources
which is then packaged and sold back to the local community for a
- There are several communal water points but
locals have to paddle up to 3km to get there
and then pay up to 3p for a 10L bucket of water
- Asymmetric information - the black market leads to a problem of asymmetric
information. Given the high price of privately traded water, there is incentive to sell
more accessible lower quality water to capture some of the profit. As the buyer
isn’t aware of quality and source of the water, absent any ability of vendor to signal
or verify the quality of water the buyer is exposed to being ripped off
- NGOs
- Water Aid
- Water Initiatives Nigeria (WIN)
- African Medical and Research
Foundation (AMREF)
- Municipal Government
- Regulatory Agencies
- The Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission is responsible for
protecting the interest of investors and consumers in the water
sector, it is also charged with settling disputes between
produces and consumers
- Monitoring Agencies
- Lagos State Drug Quality Assurance Laboratory is
responsible for monitoring the quality of piped
drinking water in Lagos State
- Supply and Quality Agencies
- The Lagos Water Corporation is the public water utility tasked
with supplying potable water in the Lagos Metropolitan area. it
is also tasked with ensuring that the supplied water conforms
with standards
- Waste Water Management
- The Lagos State Waste Management Office is responsible for all
issues related to waste water management in Lagos state. It is
also tasked with the development of eco-friendly waste water
- Multilaterals
- World Bank
- The World Bank provides loans
to the Nigerian government
- African Development Bank
- Provide loans to the Nigerian
- European Union (EU)
- Provide loans to the Nigerian
- Provide loans to the Nigerian
- Private Investors
- The Lagos Water Corporation has been actively
soliciting private partners for investment into
water infrastructure