The water resource management component of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has begun building awareness on the proper management of water resources.
The awareness promotion is intended to train people to spread the information at community and national levels to protect the vital resource of water in the region.
At the opening of a one-day workshop organized by the West Africa Water Resources Policy (WAWRP) in Monrovia on Tuesday, the Coordinator of ECOWAS Water Resource Center, Tourè Mohamane, said that the policy is implementable in all parts of West Africa.
He said it was adopted by the 35th Ordinary Session of the Conference of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments held on December 19, 2008.
According to him, WAWRP was developed following a participatory and collaborative process involving all stakeholders of the water sector and primarily competent institutions in the region.
As an outcome of a regional consensus, Mr. Mohamane said “the Supplementary Act adopting the West Africa Water Resources Policy was developed as a key reference document for water resources management in the region.”
“The Act was adopted as part of the new legal regime for community instruments based on the principle of Supra-nationality, according to which any instruments enacted by community bodies become enforceable in member states without prior ratification by them.”
He also indicated that this new situation requires that any instrument adopted at any regional level must be further known to citizens of the community in which the workshop was being organized.
“And for an instrument like the Regional Water Policy, which covers the most essential issues of our economic and social development, this duty to inform the public becomes even more crucial,” Mr. Mohamane added.
Against this backdrop, the ECOWAS Water Resources Coordinator said the overall objective of the WAWRP National Dissemination Workshop was to update stakeholders on key issues at stake in the policy and the opportunities it offers for sustainable management of water resources in the region.
On the significance of disseminating the water policy to community dwellers, Mr. Mohamane said a day long workshop will not be sufficient to get the information across.
“In fact, this workshop is just a pretext. You will later on be asked to get organized to thoroughly disseminate the policy across your country,” he said.
The Liberian National Health Policy Section 24.2 prohibits wasting of garbage, human wastes and any polluting substance in rivers, oceans, lakes, streams and other bodies of water.
Section 24.2 states, “No person shall place or cause to be placed, or cause or permit the fall, flow or discharge into any of the waters of the Republic any sewage, industrial or agricultural waste or other wastes, or any admixture injurious to the public health, unless express permission to do so shall have been first given in writing by the Minister (Minister of Health) as provided in this chapter. But in no case shall the Minister grant such permission with reference to waters which are sources of drinking water.”
Even though this policy is in place, waterways in the country, especially those in Monrovia, are polluted with human wastes and garbage.
In most slum communities, including West Point and Slipway extending to 12th Street in Sinkor, there are makeshift structures built on the Mesurado River for human wastes.
In the Buzzy Quarters and PHP communities stretching to 25th Street in Sinkor, many residents use the beach to defecate because of lack of toilet facilities in most homes.