The Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC), has formally commissioned two new and fully rehabilitated outstations in Kakata, Margibi County, and Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Funded through a grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB) with support from the Government of Liberia, the new water systems have the capacity to ensure that 75% of the population of the two county capitals have access to clean and safe pipe borne water.
The ceremony for both counties was held in Grand Bassa and was graced by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai along with a host of dignitaries representing international donor partners, government, civil society and citizens.
LWSC’s Board Chairman Dr. Kimmie Weeks noted that the commissioning of the water systems in Buchanan and Kakata were part of the corporation’s long term strategy to ensure that every single county capital had access to safe drinking pipe borne water. “We are starting with Kakata and Buchanan,” said Weeks. “We will be commissioning the treatment plant for Zwedru, Grand Gedeh, in less than a month as it is almost completed. In addition, we have ongoing works to complete the water treatment plants in Sanniquellie, Voinjama, and Cape Mount.”
Dr. Weeks, who was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the corporation four years ago, outlined the challenges affecting the corporation at the onset of his tenure, which were broad and extreme. He recalled: “LWSC was at a critical point four years ago, and the President was becoming frustrated because she saw the delivery of water as a primary goal for her administration, but progress appeared slow. LWSC could barely meet its statutory obligation to deliver water to the Liberian capital, let alone extend itself to the rural areas. This became for us a challenge despite the difficulties and resource constraints.”
Bemoaning what he referred to as the “nothing is happening syndrome,” Dr. Weeks said “one of the things we recognize is that there are so many developmental goals that people care about, and may not be happening at the pace they desire, that it is easy to miss the progress, but the water sector over the last four years has achieved significant progress,” remarked Dr. Weeks. “We have gone from only being able to deliver a few hundred gallons of water to a limited part of Monrovia on a rationed basis to being able to deliver water to a large portion of the capital and also extending to rural counties in a matter of four years.”
Weeks noted that even as the corporation was striving to bring more county capitals online, its major focus remains solving the “central Monrovia water crisis.” Remarked Dr. Weeks: “Both the President and Vice President have highlighted the need to provide water to Central Monrovia, which remains a primary target to be accomplished and as a result, the Board is executing all means necessary to solve this challenging process.”
Established by a Legislative Act in 1972, the Liberian Water and Sewer Corporation has a statutory mandate to deliver pipe borne water to populations above 5,000 inhabitants.