Water shortage has once again hit central Monrovia and its environs, leaving residents with no alternative, but to wake up as early as 4:30 a.m. to queue at the few available wells and water pumps around the city to fetch water safe for drinking and other household needs.
A young female resident only identified as Maatu of Lynch Street, near the crime prone “Gblakpah” Community (a Bassa word meaning near water), complained of how it is now “hard time living in Monrovia and parts adjacent in the absence of basic social services such as safe drinking water.”
Other residents described the water shortage as an age-old phenomenon, which they have endured for years during the dry season, “even with the installation of hand pumps all around the vicinity.”
“With inadequate social services, where water goes dry in our wells, residents are compelled to cut short their sleeping hours to queue at the wells as early as 4 a.m.,” one angry resident said. He also referred to the dangers residents face at the hands of suspected marauding criminals they encounter while in search of water before day break.
As the sun beats the ground particularly at this time of the year, community wells have gone dry to the extent that residents are being forced to trek in all directions searching for water.
Slipway Community near the Du River in Monrovia is no exception to the water shortage nightmare. Communities outside the city including GSA Road, Soul Clinic, ELWA Rock Crusher, are symbolic of the struggle residents go through trying to find water during the dry season.
Our reporter, who toured Monrovia and several suburbs in recent days, observed that many privately-owned wells have now become dry and the few that still contain a small amount of water are being restricted to the owners who only allow close friends or family members access to their wells.
One resident on Front Street near the headquarters of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) where wells have gone dry described the situation as “unbearable.” They have no access to a well and are compelled to roam the city in search of safe drinking water.
“Even kind-hearted residents who sometimes allow anyone to fetch water from their wells, have complained of the consequence of leaving them without water, especially safe drinking water,” an elderly female well owner said.
One water seller said the situation has meanwhile increased the price of water to the extent that a three-gallon container of water, once sold for L$10, is now as high as L$50.
Several of those who supply five gallon containers of water loaded on carts told the Daily Observer that in the absence of jobs, they seize the opportunity to make money during the dry season when the demand for water is high.
Pulling the carts loaded with sometimes 20 five gallon containers along the streets, whether going uphill or downhill, is backbreaking. The carts often obstruct the flow of traffic as the men occupy a lane of the two lane streets to transport the water to their customers.
Meanwhile our reporter who has frequented the Front Street offices of the LWSC for the past three days was up to press time last night unable to meet with the management or the public relations officer.
The receptionist earlier directed the Daily Observer to the office marked Public Relations, but no one was there to speak on the matter. Later, one of the male employees directed our reported to the offices of the Administrative Manager, who was reportedly out of the building for the whole of yesterday.
Nonetheless, a security guard who our reporter encountered, while leaving the LWSC offices jokingly told our reporter to monitor Monrovia’s weather report on radio.
It may be recalled that shortly after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took office in 2006, she promised to restore war-ravished basic social services such as pipe-borne water and electricity as part of her government’s five pillars.
“Of course, there is no telling that she failed to deliver on her promises,” a former official of her government told the Daily Observer in a brief interview.
Despite the much-talked about European Union (EU) assistance to the LWSC over the years, the corporation has been unable to sustain the system as indicated during the last two weeks of acute water shortage to Monrovia and its environs, including the Pipe-Line Road to Johnsonville where wells have dried up.