Monrovia, Liberia: what appears to be a save landing has occurred between the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) and the Liberia Water Producers Association (LWPA) as both institutions have found a common ground on how to proceed as partners in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector of Liberia over the implementation of the New LWSC Act of 2017.
The LWSC Act of 2017 empowers the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) to amongst several 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 operations of commercial wells and boreholes.
The new LWSC Act which was passed by the 53rd Legislature on 27 December 2017 and printed into handbill on 2 January 2018 also mandates the LWSC to ensure the optimum development and use of water resources in urban cities or towns; 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 5b 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 the Corporation and equipped with water meter and commercial wells or boreholes as mentioned in section 5a 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.
An initial meeting convened in early March with the Liberia Water Producers Association 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 of the Sector.
But at a well-attended Leadership meeting with the Liberia Water Producers Association (LWPA) and the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation at the LWSC offices in Monrovia, an initial agreement was reached for collaboration between both institutions over the Implementation of the New LWSC Act of 2017.
Speaking at the LWSC and LWPA Meeting, the Managing Director of the LWSC Hon.Duannah A.Kamara lauded the Leadership and members of the LWPA for responding to the invitation from the Corporation to discuss approach methods on the new LWSC Act and to further provide information to the LWPA on the New Act.
“We appreciate the discussions with you and understand the costs endured for the production of safe Drinking water”, Hon.Kamara told the gathering. According to the LWSC Managing Director, the Tuesday’s meeting was called to solicit the views of those the Corporation considers very important to the sector.
“Though we now have the legal instrument to proceed, should we go about without referencing or regarding you and your immense contributions to the people of Liberia?, I say no and that is why we are here today to design and derive at least minimum fees for the commercial wells or boreholes you operate”, Hon.Kamara added.
Hon. Duannah A.Kamara assured the members and Leadership of the LWPA that his Corporation will coordinate with other Agencies of government on the fragmented sector and shared responsibilities on regulation in order to reduce some of the burdens LWPA endures in running their commercial wells or boreholes.
“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 World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards”,M.D Kamara mentioned.
According to the LWSC Boss, more discussions are necessary for the growth and expansion of the Corporation to be able to improve on the services we provide to our people.
Hon.Kamara cautioned the Water Producers to be honest to the partnership with the Corporation as it seeks to implore equilibrium, protection and promotion of Liberian Water Producing Companies.
“I want to assure you that the Corporation will seek your welfare in this partnership and there are possibilities of preference to you especially in the areas of reduction and variations in the charge for our services to you”, MD Kamara asserted.
The Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation Managing Director committed the Corporation to reviewing some of the wells or boreholes that were metered to determine whether they are privately or commercially used.
In separate remarks, the leadership and members of the Liberia Water Producers Association attending the meeting thanked the Management of the Corporation for the level of professionalism and maturity shown in partnering with the organization. “We are willing to cooperate with the new team here at the Corporation”, 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.
According to the LWPA President, the new team at the LWSC has proven to have respect for humans and is willing to partnership with her organization.
She however reminded the management of the LWSC that over ninety (90%) of Water Companies in Liberia are operating at a loss due to several factors which include the inflation in the united states dollars against the Liberian dollars and the regulatory charges from government Institutions including the Environmental Agency Of Liberia, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia as well as the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy.
Final discussions with the LWPA are expected in three (3) weeks following a meeting of chapters’ heads of the Liberia Water Producers Association (LWPA). It is expected that during the final discussions with the LWPA, a resolution would be developed between the LWSC and the LWPA on the execution of the new LWSC Act of 2017 with respect to metering commercial wells or boreholes.
In attendance at the Tuesday, May 16, 2018 LWPA/LWSC meeting were several mineral Water Companies including Aqua life, Bravo, Sherperd, PUR, SSS PVT Ltd. Traffic and the Leadership of the Liberia Water Producers Association while for the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation were the Managing Director Hon.Duannah A.Kamara and the Deputy Managing Director for Technical Services Hon.Dan Saryee.