Assistant Public Works Minister for Administration, Jefferson Chesson, says, about 93 percent Liberians living in rural communities lack access to enough drinking water.
Minister Chesson made the observation on Tuesday, this week when he addressed participants at a one day national stakeholders’ consultation dialogue organized by Liberia NGOs Network (LINNK) in collaboration with WaterAid Liberia.
“Recent estimate based on the SDG criteria of safely managed water suggests that about 93 percent of Liberia’s rural residents don’t have access to enough clean water for domestic use.”
He says lack of access to water is due to shortage in drinking water facilities, noting, “This is troubling and undesirable statistics by any standard.” According to him, the situation in Liberia is compounded by a number of structural problems both in terms of governance and resources mobilization.
The Assistant Works Minister also attributes challenges facing the WASH sector to low skilled and under resourced government employees, who he intimates, continue to be plagued with the problem of low service delivery output leading to ineffective WASH services.
“They normally struggle in comparison to their NGO counterparts, who in most cases, are better equipped and well-resourced to realize their short term WASH mandates at the risk of low sustainability and discontinuity of project activities in the event that donors’ funding expired”, he laments.
Consequently, he says WASH infrastructures’ construction and its attending software activities in Liberia has been the subject of growing attention, describing it as the most fragile part of public goods provided in Liberia.
Minister Chesson continues that low funding to the Liberian WASH sector has generally undermined the aspiration of plans needed to realize the goals of ensuring sanitation and hygiene activities are scaled up beyond fragmented and incoherent implementation.
“Annual investment in WASH sector has decreased exponentially from 2 million United State dollars unused allocation in 2014 to $1 million in 2015 and the disbursement of US$350.00 in 2017”, he discloses.
The Assistant Minister notes that there is low government allocation for Liberia WASH sector, thus leading to donor and NGOS dominance which, he observes sometimes leads to unachievable government planned priorities.
He warns that Global Water crisis will not be solved if Liberians don’t provide the necessary support and continue to work together to ensure that no one is left behind in the drive to enhance access to safe drinking water.
On the global scene, the CDC official disclosed that more than 700 million people (10%) of the global population lack access to safe drinking water, exposing them to the risk of “unpredictable” ineffectual diseases and premature death.
That is why, he adds, it is more than necessary to join others around the global to observe world water day on March 22 each year so as to occupy the consciousness of the world about the water crisis facing people who are left behind.
“663 million people don’t have access to safe managed water source, not to talk of improved infrastructures close to their homes, unlike few, most people around the world must spend complex hours in Queue, waiting to get what he terms as the precious resource (water).
-Editing by Jonathan Browne