The Drainage Problem: How Long Will It Take Us To Fix It?

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For several decades now the people of Monrovia, the Monrovia City Council and the Liberian government have known about the problems of drainage in the city. Indeed from time immemorial we  have also known of the high level of rainfall with which every year the country is blessed.  Yet each year when the Rainy Season comes, it seems to take us by complete surprise.

Why do we say that?  Because each time the rains arrive, they have the identical effect,   especially on the most vulnerable amongst us—the people who live in slums, near poorly maintained drainages or even on the Capital By-Pass and the road through Clara Town.  Some years ago it was alleged that one of the stores in Clara Town had been built over a plumbing main and this was partly responsible for the flood that frequents that area during heavy rains.

Have the Ministry of Public Works and the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) ever investigated that in order to fix the problem, one way or another?

It seems to us that these are the two government institutions that are chiefly responsible, among other things, to be concerned about drainage problems in the cities and everywhere else.  To ensure that the roads and thoroughfares in the cities and around the country are passable and regularly restrained from flooding, these are definitely a function of Public Works.

As for the LWSC, this Agency, as its name dictates, is responsible for all the water problems in the country, beginning with the supply of water for home, commercial and industrial uses, and even for recreation.  There is also the issue of the control of water.  When a water main breaks, the LWSC should rush there not only because it installs maintains all the mains, but also because mains gush out water, causing serious problems for the public, and water is LWSC’s business.

More specifically, LWSC is also responsible for properly maintaining the drainages in the cities and around the country.  In Monrovia alone, there are drainages which for decades have been poorly maintained.  Historically the worst ones have been those on Center Street, where we bury our dead; Soniwean, and Bushrod Island, especially the Clara Town area.  We call on LWSC to take preemptive measures to check around all the densely populated areas of the capital city–central Monrovia, New Kru

Town, Slip Way, Vai Town, Clara Town, Logan Town, the area adjacent the Free Port of Monrovia and Duala–to ensure that water is not only sufficiently supplied in these areas, but also properly managed, especially during the heavy rains. Are there drainages in those places? Do drainages need be built there?  That is Water and Sewer’s business and they should see about it right away, and not wait until there is a crisis.

Water and Sewer should also undertake a comprehensive survey of the water situation around the country, map all the water-related problematic areas and develop a plan to deal with each one.

This exercise should be not only the responsibility of LWSC alone, but the Ministry of Public Works, too, because the matter of floods also affects roads, and that is Public Works’ business.

So here is our proposal: that the Ministry of Public Works and the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation develop a Joint Task Force to scout the entire country with the aim of identifying potential flooding problems that could place people’s lives and livelihood in danger–and make the roads impassable, if even for a few hours.

Needless to say, the LWSC should also become directly involved in the whole business of sanitation, for this has very serious water implications, too. LWSC must be concerned about the water which, during the heavy rains, flows from dumpsites and the implications for the people in the immediate vicinities.

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