Liberia: President Weah Breaks Ground For US$18M Raw Water Pipeline at White Plains

President Weah was joined by an array of officials including MCC’s Vice President, Anthony Welcher (holding shovel with the President), US Ambassador Christine Elder, and the CEO of MCA-L. Monie R. Captan, among others 

White Plains, Montserrado County –  President George Weah over the weekend broke grounds for the construction of a raw water intake pipeline at White Plains. 

The 48-inch diameter pipeline, according to officials, will replace the original 36-inch diameter pipeline that was destroyed during Liberia’s civil war.

It is part of the energy project under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact with Liberia. 

The MCC is a Liberia-United States partnership to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.

President Weah, at the ground breaking ceremony on Friday, November 1, thanked the United States Government for the support and stressed that the project will boost the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC) capacity to provide water to Montserrado and its environs.

In October 2015, the United States Government provided a grant of US$257 million to Liberia through its development agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to address the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity and inadequate road infrastructure. 

The MCC awards compact grants to countries that pass at least 10 of its 20 governance indicators, including control of corruption.

President Weah said there is a strong need for a paradigm shift in the way the scores are given countries under the MCC. 

“We need a paradigm shift in the MCC,” the President said as he broke ground for the US$18 million raw water pipeline at White Plains.

Speaking, United States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder pledged the US Government’s commitment to supporting key sectors of the Liberian economy.

Ambassador Elder said it has been a little over 60 years, in 1956 when the first pipeline was constructed and was destroyed during the war. She recounted the historic ties between the United States and Liberia and noted the ground breaking ceremony was a significant milestone for the LWSC in supplying water to the locals.

The MCC’s Vice President for Operations, Anthony Welcher, also attending the event, expressed delight over the project and pledged the MCC’s commitment to the government of Liberia.

The MCC compact projects are administered by the Millennium Challenge Account – Liberia (MCA – L), an independent, legal and autonomous agency of the Government of Liberia created by an act of Legislature.

Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of MCA – L, Monie R. Captan stated the new pipeline will run from the dam at the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant to the White Plains water treatment plant.

The new pipeline, Mr. Captan added, is approximately 5 kilometers long and generally follows the original alignment of the pipeline with small deviations.

According to him, it will improve water quality to the municipal water system. 

The current location of the intake pipe on the St. Paul River results in poor water quality and salty water during the dry season when the water level is low.

For his part, LWSC’s Managing Director, Duannah Kamara revealed the pipeline project will deliver water from the dam using gravity flow, saving LWSC US$780,000 a year in electricity costs to pump water to the water treatment plant.

In addition, he said the US$18 million pipeline will improve the reliability and quality of the water supply to nearly one million residents of Greater Monrovia. 

Meanwhile, MCA-L has contracted Denys NV of Belgium to design and construct the pipeline, while Nicholas O’Dwyer of Ireland will be responsible for design review and construction supervision.

The pipeline, which is the last project under the current compact is expected to be completed in June 2020.