The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Liberian Water and Sewer Corporation, Dr. Kimmie Weeks, has called on the House and Senate to prioritize the provision of pipe borne water for Liberia in the upcoming 2014 National budget.
Dr. Weeks made the call in separate letters to the House and Senate where he outlined the dire need for the Government of Liberia to take the bold initiatives to ensure that all Liberians have access to water, which he described as “a very basic human right.” In response to the letters, Senators Geraldine Doe Sherriff, Jewel Howard Taylor, and Representatives Zoe Pennue and Acarius Gray have already committed to championing the cause of “water for all.”
In one of the letters, Dr. Weeks earmarked three major projects that LWSC was prioritizing. They included a request for allocation to purchase new pipes in order to change 40-year-old rusted pipes in downtown Monrovia, $200,000 for pipes to deliver water to all of the estates off Somalia drive, and $700,000 to provide water for the first time to the Dwazon Community on the RIA highway.
Weeks outlined that the primary problem with LWSC not being able to deliver water to more parts of the capital was due to the fact that after years of nonuse, most of the pipes had gotten rusted or stolen. He wrote: “Unfortunately years of war, destruction of the corporation’s facilities, dilapidated infrastructure, and poor funding amongst other issues has severely limited the Corporation’s ability to deliver on its statutory mandate.”
Weeks highlighted that changing Monrovia’s pipe systems to PVC pipes would greatly improve the quality of the water supplied to homes and ensure that thousands of new residents gain access to water.
He explained that by not changing the old pipes, the population was at a health risk. Dr. Weeks in the letter said, “The pipes through central Monrovia are 40 to 50 years old. They pose a major health risk even for people using it as bath water because leaking pipes allow sewage to enter thus causing contamination. It is very urgent both from a health perspective and a revenue generation perspective to prioritize changing of the pipes in the city.” LWSC has requested funding of US 2.8 million dollars for these three capital project, which the Chairman believes will have a marked impact on the lives of many Liberians.
In another letter to the House and Senate, the Chairman also called for support for a national feasibility study that would allow the corporation to begin working towards renovating water treatment plants in 22 cities and county capitals. “If we can conduct the studies in the next fiscal year, we will be well on our way to ensuring that our children in these cities and counties will very soon be able to turn on the faucet right in the comfort of their homes and receive clean drinking water,” Concluded Weeks.
Over the past several years, LWSC has greatly increased its pumping capacity. The corporation’s investment in the purchase of two high lift electric pumps allowed it to increase its capacity from 4 million gallons per day to 10 million gallons a day. The corporation has also increased its pumping hours from a few hours a day to 12 hours each day.
In addition, LWSC has in recent months resumed operations at its plants in Kakata and Zwedru while it expects to complete rehabilitation of treatment plants in six county capitals with support from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).