4 February 2013

Liberia: Gov't Must Increase Access to Clean Water


When it comes to mapping up strategies designed to reduce the wide gap between industrialized and rich countries in the Northern hemisphere and developing countries in the Southern hemisphere, there are those economists who focuses more attention on micro-economics and fiscal policies as key determinants to stimulate economic growth.

These groups of economists often downplay the essence of safe and clean drinking water as a catalyst of national development. Pure water is also a tool for the prevention of disease. Indeed water, electricity, roads, affordable transport and communication systems are equally essential elements of national development and poverty reduction.

There are however, those economics who view that macro-economics with special emphasis on prioritizing human and infrastructural development are indispensable to reducing poverty. The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) whose target date for achievement expires in 2015 was designed by pro-macroeconomists that were more concerned with human and infrastructural development in the agricultural, the environment, education, health related issues and gender balance.

This time around, in the wake of the crafting of the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals, there are many who are suggesting that apart from ensuring that developing countries continue stressing on significantly reducing poverty through achieving the eight MDGs, the new focus to be formulated should focus attention on critical development items that were left out of the MDGs.

They include the basic needs of life such as clean and safe pipe-borne water, electricity, job creation, roads, transport and communications, improving a climate of the rule of law, improving the living standards of the personnel of the security sector, transparency and the judicial system.

Since Liberia's civil conflict that devastated most essential infrastructures including the Mount Coffee hydro electricity dam and the Monrovia's pipe-borne water supply networks, little have been heard about making water accessible to more Liberians. In most communities around Monrovia the capital, residents faces the challenge of either relying on water wells provided by NGOs during the war while connections to pure and safe drinking water of the Liberia Water and Sewer Company (LWSC) are limited.

This is why in recognition of the need to harness and develop the country's water resources, a 2-day meeting of African Minister responsible for Water and sanitation (WASH) convened a meeting at the Monrovia City Hall where they made important proposals that stressed the need for safe drinking water to be included in the post 2015 MDG document whose preparation was the subject of the UN High Level Panel Meeting in Monrovia.

We totally agree with the proposals of the WASH African minister's consultative meeting that stressed the need for more investments in harnessing and developing the water resources of developing countries. We call on government not to relent in developing the country's water resources through the construction of water dams across the country that supplies cheap and affordable water. In many of Liberia's urban areas the public have been relying on plastic water that is commercialized at five dollars a plastic. This is still not affordable by the vast majority of the population.

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