By Kruah Thompson
The Managing Director of the Liberian Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) Duannah Kamara has alarmed over increased illegal connections to the main water pump that supplies pipe-borne water across Monrovia.
Mr. Kamara disclosed that about 50 thousand residents are illegally taking water from the LWSC, imposing huge production cost on the entity.
Speaking at MICAT special briefing on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, the LWSC Managing Director warned those in the habit of doing illegal connections to desist immediately.
He said management will shortly dispatch teams to various communities to arrest those involved and turn them over to the Liberian National Police (LNP) for investigation.
According to him, the 5000 gallons of water that are pumped from the LWSC’s reservoir could generate about US$18,000 daily, but due to illegal connections, they are generating nothing.
He said the Weah administration promised few months back to send water all over central Monrovia and to deliver on this, LWSC has started to pump water through its Ducor reservoir.
“The water coming out of Ducor reservoir is safe but the water going into the various lines that take the water to individual homes is described as something that is not safe,” he added
Director Kamara indicated that these mini pumps have stayed long underground (“close to 25 years”) and the leadership at that time did not take into consideration that there would be another generation that will need access to these facilities.
He specifically warned residents of Central Monrovia, Slipway, Buzzy Quarters, and Mamba Point that water coming thru their pipes is not safe for drinking and cooking because it contains high content of chlorine.
However, the LWSC boss said residents of Sinkor up to Monrovia City Hall may use the water for any purpose, including drinking and cooking, because those lines are safe, while a team of professionals from the Corporation is already in the fields working to ensure safety of the water for the communities listed above.
“Until these professionals describe the water as clean and safe to use, no one from the places I named should drink or cook with the water,” Mr. Kamara reiterated
Meanwhile, Kamara indicated that the restoration of the facilities was made possible through assistance from the Government of Liberia and its partners such as the World Bank.
Statistics show that for more than a decade, the water quality in Liberia has been a serious challenge. In 2016, only 25 percent of the population had access to clean water. Currently, of the 4.5 million people populating the country, more than one million are unable to access safe drinking water.
Kamra said USAID and other partners were instrumental in making sure water is restored to the city.
“USAID just gave us a report; we were ranked 13th among countries with a lack of safe drinking water, and they had to approve a budget for us. They signed an MOU with the African Development Bank to support the water treatment plant”, he explained.
At the same time, the LWSC Boss is warning Liberians against water theft, stressing that if all customers can pay their bills on time, the entity will be able to extend supply of water to other areas.
“We spent US$3,000 daily to pump the water, we used chlorine and other chemicals…we go in the field, people don’t even pay their bills. Some are taking our water into the smaller pipes into their homes; how do you expect us to survive?” He asked. Editing by Jonathan Browne