The Acting Managing Director of the Liberia Water and Sewage Corporation (LWSC) Charles Allen has blamed the acute water shortage in Monrovia and its environs to problems and compromises of the corporation's water distribution pipes by thieves commonly referred to here as "Push-Push Boys."
The hawkers fetch water from anywhere and everywhere they can lay the hands on it, particularly on the outskirt of Monrovia for sale to residents in the city center.
Addressing a weekly news conference Thursday at the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill, Allen said the water transmission and distribution lines need to be rehabilitated because all along the way, there have been compromises in the system.
Pipe borne water and electricity are among crucial social services still beyond the reach of most Monrovian residents and parts adjacent.
"We have problem in the distribution system. If you noticed the push-push boys, they take water from Clara Town and push it up town [which is] Water and Sewage's water."
"You cannot seek any portable drinking water in Clara Town because it is a swamp; so what they do is our pipes from the distribution system are compromised; and LWSC's water is being brought up town and sold," said Allen.
He said 16 million gallons of water produced daily for the capital is insufficient for a population of 1.2 million people, compared to 4.5m gallons earlier produced. Owing to the high demand of water in the city, the LWSC boss disclosed that the Liberian Government has ordered for two pipes that will separately produce 12m gallons and 7m gallons per day, respectively.
Allen said the two pipe lines that feed into Monrovia include the corporation's 36-inch pipe that passes through Pipeline Road in Paynesville and a 16-inch pipe passing through Caldwell to Bushrod Island.
Due to loss of revenue to the LWSC as a result of compromises of its distribution lines, Allen said the corporation has instructed its agents to disconnect anybody, who is not connected to a meter.
"Water is not free. It is only free when it falls from the sky. Water tariff is very low. People would prefer not to pay less than US$20 for the breaker, which they could spend on a beer table only to puncher the lines, cause damage to deprive the state its needed revenues," he added.
He said despite the readiness of engineers and technicians at the LWSC to work, there were challenges in convincing the Deputy Finance Minister for Expenditure at the Ministry of Finance on request for money the corporation needs to carry out full rehabilitation.
But with the intervention of US$50m from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which Allen said is ongoing, he estimates that the full intervention will be completed before 2015 or within a period of 26 months by which the damaged pipes would have been substantially rehabilitated.