opinionBy Lukong Pius Nyuylime
The more assuring authorities in charge of water supply are in Yaounde, the nation's capital, the more sceptical the population is. The reason is simple; the population is growing at a rather exponential rate pushing the demand for the precious good beyond breaking point. If one were to go by the figures provided by Cameroon Water Authority (CAMWATER), then there is a demand-supply gap of about 200,000 cubic metres a day.
In effect, the gap keeps widening as many more people stream into the capital to take residence. Many new quarters have mushroomed and are languishing in abject thirst of pipe borne water. Supply from the main sources at Akomnyada treatment station has stagnated at 100,000 cubic metres per day till date. Figures talk of demand that has already hit 300,000 cubic metres a day.
Perhaps the good news is the concern that authorities that be have been showing in the face of the problem, which unfortunately has not been quickly translated into concrete action as the population would have expected. What remains hope rekindling is the Mefou water treatment station expected to come to fruition in August, this year. This particular station will inject in additional 50,000 cubic metres of water a day. The impact will surely not be felt as much as one would have expected because the shortage will still remain at about 250,000 cubic metres a day other things being equal. It is not clear how many people would have come into the nation's capital by August, but it is clear that the population will not be the same.
That said, another project is in the air and is expected to step up supply. In effect, following the renegotiation for financial disbursement by international partners, there are hopes that the capacity of the Akomyada station will be reinforced. Once this happens, production will again step up by 40,000 cubic meters a day. The date when this project, otherwise qualified as an emergency, will see the light of day is yet to be known.
As the population remains hopeful, fears are that the acute absence of water could likely usher in water-related diseases as people resort to dangerous sources for water supply. Those that have the means drill wells and install treatment devices whereas those with little or no means, who incidentally form the majority, go for any source provided it can bring them anything in the name of water. That is the danger in the air as the nation's capital remains thirsty.