21 March 2013

Liberia: Fifty Year-Old Corroded Pipes Making Water in Monrovia Unsafe for Drinking

The Acting Managing Director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Cooperation has admitted that the meager water supplied to Monrovia is not safe for drinking. Speaking at the Information Ministry's regular press briefing Hon. Charles Allen the two major pipelines to Monrovia have lived their useful lives.

"The transmission and distribution is another story. The pipes have a life span. There are two pipelines that feed into the urban center of Monrovia. For over fifty years you can imagine that portion of it is corroded and even some of them are exposed and damage."

The LWSC boss said not only are the pipes old but the entire water plaint needs to be refurbished in order to serve the over one million persons living in Monrovia.

"Monrovia presently is a city of one point one or one point two million persons depending on the stats. We have the challenge to bring quality drinking water. Our water treatment plant at White plains is over 50 years old. Any infrastructure that have been built for such a period has to undergo maintenance given the situation that has evolved in our country in recent times, we can appreciate that that has been very difficult. "

The LWSC boss's statement confirms fears by Z. Abraham Gardour Principal of the G. W. Gibson High school who told this paper that people are afraid to drink the little water that is sometimes provided by the institution. 'Even in the communities most people are not drinking the Water and Sewer supply nowadays. Because the pipes are the same old iron pipes that were there long ago; rust have eaten them so people don't drink them any more for fear that they will get affected one way or the other."

Moving his chair up and down his office, the Gibson headmaster said some people are constrained to drink the unsafe water because of lack of resources.

Citizens need water

'I want to believe that some of these pipes are older than me. I can remember when I was I little boy- I was living seventeen Street; there was an old iron pipe passing right before my father's house and it is still there up to this date. That pipe was there even before I was born."

Some time ago environmental activist Silas Siakor in an interview with New Narratives expressed fears that the government will not meet its goals for safe drinking water by 2015.

"If you said to me that by 2015 more than 50% of the population of Monrovia will have pipe borne water, I will question you because I will want to see you putting the infrastructure in place. I will want to see workers day and night digging out the old pipes and replacing them with new ones,"

But Allen insists that the institution will meet the 2015 commitment with the fifty million intervention form the African Development Bank.

"We estimate that the full intervention will be completed May 2015. So we have the period of 24 months by which the plaint at white planes will be substantially rehabilitated. In the main time the citizens of Monrovia need water as we work to fix it there will be break downs and complications. "

The LWSC boss admitted that there many challenges the institution is faced with."The White Plains Plaint has designed capacity of sixteen million a day and that was for seven hundred and fifty thousand persons with a factor in of growth. Even as we speak if we refurbish the project bringing up 26 million gallons a day, it will be insufficient. What's happening right now is that we are rationing our production because we have to give a little bit to everybody."

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