17 May 2018

Liberia: LWSC, Mineral Water Producers Find Common Ground

The Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) and the Liberia Water Producers Association (LWPA) have found a common ground on how to proceed as partners in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector's implementation of the New LWSC Act of 2017.

The Act empowers the LWSC to, among other things, issue license for the development, operations, production and maintenance of commercial wells and boreholes in urban cities and towns; to exercise powers in accordance with the economic, social and environmental policies of the government and to determine the tariffs to consumers for the operation of commercial wells and boreholes.

The new LWSC Act, which was passed by the 53rd Legislature on December 27, 2017, and printed into handbills on January 2, 2018, also mandates the entity to ensure the optimum development and use of water resources; provide facilities for the collection and safe disposal of sewage; to apply appropriate standards, technology and techniques for the use, control, protection, management and administration of water and sewage.

Section 5 'b' of the new LWSC Act mandates that all commercial wells or boreholes in urban cities or towns that have pipe borne water supply within 200 feet must be registered and equipped with water meter. Commercial wells or boreholes as mentioned in section 5 'a' are wells that are used to abstract water above 5000 gallons monthly or for the preparation and manufacturing of food or beverages to the public at large.

While their initial meeting in early March ended in deadlock over plans by the corporation to implement its new Act as the LWPA accused the corporation of forcefully installing water meters at some of its members' facilities and wanting to enforce the Act without regard to partners, a recent leadership reached an agreement to collaborate.

Duannah A. Kamara, LWSC managing director, lauded the leadership and members of the LWPA for responding to the invitation from the corporation to discuss approach methods on the new Act.

"We appreciate the discussions with you and understand the costs endured for the production of safe drinking water," Kamara told the gathering.

According to him, Tuesday's meeting was called to solicit views of those in the corporation to consider some of them "very important to the sector."

Kamara assured LWPA's leadership that his corporation will coordinate with other agencies of government on the fragmented sector and shared responsibilities on regulation so as to reduce some of the burdens the entity endures.

"As part of our approach on implementing our new Act, the Corporation will monitor and test your facilities free of charge to ensure they meet WHO standards," Kamara said, noting that more discussions are necessary for the growth and expansion of the corporation.

LWPA leadership thanked the management for the level of professionalism and maturity shown in partnering with the organization.

"We are willing to cooperate with the new team," Madam Yvonne Boyd, president of the LWPA said.

"We feel honored and respected by these discussions and would definitely Inform our people about the development", she added.

Final discussions with the LWPA are expected in three weeks, following a meeting of chapters' heads of the LWPA.

It is expected that during the final discussions with the LWPA, a resolution would be developed between the LWSC and the entity on the execution of the new LWSC Act with respect to metering commercial wells or boreholes.


Leroy M. Sonpon, III


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