Liberia: Water & Sewer Management Blames Woeful Sewage System to Over-Population, Low Budgetary Support
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – The Managing Director of the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC), Duannah Kamara has blamed the country’s failed sewage system to the huge population size of Monrovia and limited budgetary support to the entity.
Mr. Duannah was speaking when he and his management team were invited by the House to give reasons why the LWSC has failed over the years to address the issues of leakages of sewage pipes at several points down waterside and Mechlin Street in Monrovia.
Addressing Plenary on Thursday, Duannah said the sewage problem was and aged-old situation inherited by his team, but they were doing all within their reach to tackle it. He said the sewage line was built in 1966 to serve about 200,000 people but now the number of people accessing the sewage system has quadrupled.
“Now, we have about one million people living in Monrovia. The pipes have overstayed and the sizes are small,” he said.
“Every time we send our team in these drainages to remove the raw feces and clean the streets early in the morning hours, vendors return and just fill the streets again like nothing was done. This is the problem. The pipe size is too small and the population size has quadrupled.”
Speaking further, he disclosed that the more than 50-year old sewage line is only 70 kilometers and runs from Point Four Junction on the Bushrod Island to Nigeria House in Congo Town. Along the line, there are several pumping stations -at the Barclay Training Center (BTC), Capitol By-pass and Sinkor. But all these stations are blocked and not functioning well because residents have built structures along these lines.
To address the situation, he proffered a short and long term solutions. The short term, he said, is to purchase more running trucks to clean the drainages and the streets regularly, while the long term is to address the problem permanently by installing a new layout. And in the process, breakdown all of the structures built on the waterway. This, he said will cost the country close to US$100 million.
Privatization is the Way
Speaking after the LWSC’s boss deliberations, Rep. Clarence Massaquoi (District #3, Lofa County) called for the privatization of the LWSC and the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) for effective service delivery.
“The Government does not have what it takes to permanently address the filthy sewage system as outlined by the Mr. Duannah, and as such, there was a need to privatize the corporation,” he contended.
“We all know that about 80 percent of the national budget goes to recurrent expenditure. We have limited fund and unlimited needs. No Government can pump US$100 million now. That’s why privatization is the way forward. We have to privatize LWSC and LEC.”
‘Management Not doing Enough’
Reps. Solomon George (District #7, Montserrado County) and Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (District #4, Montserrado Co.), in separate remarks said the management was not up to the task.
Rep. George stated that he has taken Mr. Duannah along with him to India and connected him with potential investors and partners but he squandered the opportunity.
Rep. Dennis said LWSC is one of the most ineffective entities of government owing to the management’s failure to properly maintained several water stations constructed with support from the African Development Bank, while the head office of the Corporation in Monrovia lies in filth.
For his part, Rep. George Boley (District #2, Grand Gedeh County), whose communication triggered Plenary’s decision to invite the LWCS’s Management, called for the act creating the LWSC to be reviewed so that it can effectively deliver its services across the country.
Meanwhile, the LWSC’s Management was mandated by the House to submit a comprehensive plan in addressing the situation to the House’s joint committee on Public Utility, Heath, Ways, Means and Finance; Public Works and Environment for possible action.