To mitigate the water challenges, President George Weah on Friday, November 1, 2019, broke ground for the construction of an US$18 million raw water pipeline between the dam of the Mount Coffee Hydro-power Plant, and the White Plains Water Treatment Plant. The pipeline will also improve the reliability and quality of the water supply to nearly one million residents of greater Monrovia.
The 48-inch pipeline is part of the energy project under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact. It will replace the original 36-inch diameter pipeline that was destroyed during the country’s civil war (1989-2003).
The new pipeline is approximately five kilometers long, and will improve water quality and save the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) US$780,000 a year in electricity costs to pump water to its treatment plant.
President Weah, who spoke at the ceremony, said the rehabilitation marks the beginning of a “life change” for the people of Liberia.
The project, the President said is the result of collective efforts of all Liberians, who have resolved that affordable and cheap electricity is the surest way for an economic boom, especially in the manufacturing industry.
He then used the occasion to express gratitude to development partners, especially the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Union (EU) for being with the country’s water and sanitation sector.
President Weah added, “I will like to express our profound gratitude to the government and people of the United States of America for their immense contribution and support that they have given to our electricity and water project through the MCC.”
“It is often said that water is life, and so will like to say that safe drinking water is long life,” The President said, drawing round of applause from the audience.
He said the construction of the pipeline will surely improve the water quality of Monrovia and its environs, and thereby improving the quality of the health of our people.
President Weah added, “Our national development plan of the pro-poor agenda for prosperity and development focuses on improved service as a means of creating improve the living conditions of all Liberians.”
This, he said, the construction of the pipeline is a clear manifestation of the government partners’ commitment to ensuring that our national development plan strategy is realized.
President Weah then admonished the engineers, management, and staffs of the LWSC to properly maintain the infrastructure when it becomes fully operational in June 2020 as proposed.
Weah urged the people of White Plains to take ownership of the project.
LWSC Managing Director, Duannah Kamara, said the occasion is a clear demonstration of the Weah administration’s commitment to providing safe drinking water to the people of Monrovia.
“We are deeply grateful for the strong support of the United States Government and relevant agencies for this project,” Kamara said.
He said the government of the United States, acting through the MCC and the government of Liberia are working to solve the problem of safe drinking water through economic growth in the country.
This event, he said, marks another milestone towards the realization of the compact objective that will support the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
When completed, Kamara said, the project will primarily benefit the people of Monrovia, and thereby, providing the reliability and quality of affordable, and safe drinking water to all Liberians, as well as reduce the consumption of energy and water treatment chemicals.
“We want to be grateful to the USA family, MCA-L for the contribution, grant and we want to say that our President highly appreciates this gesture,” he said.
Without a doubt, Kamara said, the implementation phase of the project will create employment opportunities for many residents in the construction sector, particularly the White Plains Water Treatment Plant, Harrisburg, to improving their livelihoods. It will eventually contribute to economic growth if the people Monrovia can have access to the clean and safe drinking water supply.
Monie R. Captan, chief executive officer of MCA-L, recalled that in January of 2016, the United States of America acting through the MCC, and the Government of Liberia, entered a five-year MCC compact, valued at US$257 million to address the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity and inadequate road infrastructure.
A compact, which is a grant from the people of the United States of America (USA), seeks to address two binding constraints to economic growth in Liberia: the likes of affordable and reliable electricity and affordable road infrastructure.
The program was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Christian Elder; MCC vice president for Compact Operations, Anthony Welcher; Chair of MCA-L Board Samuel Tweah; and Kebbeh Collins, Board chair of LWSC.
MCA-L contracted Denys NV (Belgium) to design and construct the pipeline and Nocholas O’Dwyer (Ireland) as the engineer for design review and construction supervision. The pipeline is expected to be completed in June 2020.