By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
The Managing Director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation(LWSC) has alarmed that out of every 100 gallons of water supplied, the Corporation gets 20% returns in purchase while 80% goes in theft.
Speaking at a public hearing on Monday on the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene(WASH) before the Senate Committee on Public Corporations and Public Works in the William R. Tolbert Chambers, LWSC Managing Director, Charles Allen, indicated that the LWSC is supplying 6million gallons of water per day to residents in Monrovia but that thievery of the water is too high.
Mr. Allen told the Senators that only 5% of Liberians are practicing hygiene while 18% have no access to sanitation, something he described as a challenge to the WASH sector.
In his deliberation, Mr. Allen disclosed that LWSC needs US$1.9 million to adequately pump water to Monrovia. Although the Corporation’s budget is US$2m, he added that only US$1.2m has been received from the Finance Ministry.
Commenting on his expenditure and profit at the entity, Mr. Allen said LWSC makes US$394,000 as profit annually and expends US$72,000 monthly.
Cognizant of the fact that water and sanitation are essential to sustaining better livelihood in the country, the issues of thievery, illegal dumping of garbages and sanitary nuisances are humpering the safety of water supply to most part of Monrovia. He named the disposal of plastic bags blocking the sewage system as other factors to the supply of safe drinking water.
Access to sufficient safe drinking water and good sanitation facilities remain a vital issue and a huge challenge for many people in Liberia. In the city areas in the country, many poor households cannot afford to pay for the use of water, which somehow contributes to sanitary nuisances and poor sewer usage. In rural areas, this problem is further compounded.
The objectives of the hearing are to collect information and facts that will assist the Senate Committee on Public Works to conduct effective oversight through its examination of the issues raised in the letter written by Senator Joyce Musu Freeman Sumo of Montserrado requesting Plenary to intervene or investigate issues relating to water and sanitation.
The hearing was also conducted to promote a legislative partnership engagement with Civil Society Organization(CSO), government authorities and independent experts on priority water and sanitation issues affecting local communities and citizens.
After the hearing, it is expected that findings and recommendations or appropriate action(s) will be taken to improve the situation of water, sanitation and hygiene in Monrovia and the country.