Will road construction deprive Manjai/Kotu residents access to water?

By Mamour M.Mbenga

Residents in Manjai in the Kanifing Municipality, who are not yet connected to the NAWEC water supply system, are being DippaKunda – Manjaiasked to apply for connection now before the completion of the road under construction or they will not have access to tap water, according to some compound owners.

The residents explained that NAWEC told them at a community sensitisation meeting with household heads on Sunday, 8 November, to apply for taps for their compounds while the construction of the road connecting the Monte Carlo junction in Dippa Kunda to the Manjai Bantaba by Gamworks is underway. According to them, they were told that any connection to be done after the completion of the project would be very difficult and expensive, on the part of the applicants, as this would require digging across the road to lay new water pipes.

Alpha Bah, a resident of Manjai Kunda, who also attended this meeting, said they were told by NAWEC that the compounds situated around this Dippa Kunda – Manjai stretch that have not yet connected to the water system should do so now as a matter of urgency before the road is completed. “They told us that this road will be concrete and not tarmac and as such would be very difficult to dig to lay pipes after its completion,” he added.

He said the application fee for water installation and other charges is more than eight thousand dalasi (D8, 000) which is beyond the reach of many households. He appealed to NAWEC to consider introducing payment by instalment to enable these compounds to have taps.

He said NAWEC has even tasked the Ward Councillor to assist in listing down the compounds that are not connected and need taps.

A compound owner, who asked for anonymity, said the problem he is facing now is that he does not have the ability to pay for the installation of a tap in his compound. He said what they need is for community taps to be installed for households, such as his, which cannot afford the connection fees. “Many compounds in Manjai Jidda, Manjai Darusalam and Central Manjai are without taps because it is expensive to pay for water connection and we need NAWEC and the Council (Kanifing Municipal Council) to help us in this,” he said.

He claimed that they had even contacted KMC but were told that it is NAWEC that should be approached for the installation of community taps.

Talking to the Kotu/Manjai Ward Councillor, Mr. Salieu Manneh, on the issue, he confirmed the community meeting they had with NAWEC and the call the latter made for households to apply for compound taps now before the road construction project is completed.

According to the Ward Councillor, the Gamworks and NAWEC are not properly coordinating on this issue.

“Gamworks had told us that they cannot stop the road construction work that is underway to wait for the laying of pipes as they have a project deadline to meet,” said the Kotu/Manjai Councillor.

The Ward Councillor also called on NAWEC to support the households which cannot afford to pay upfront the tap installation fee by introducing payment on an instalment basis.

“When this issue of instalment payment was raised with the NAWEC officials at the community sensitisation meeting, they promised to take the matter to their superiors and would get back to us. We are still waiting for their response,” he added.

Foroyaa will make efforts to talk to Mr.Pierre Silva, the NAWEC Public Relation Officer (PRO), on the issue.

The KMC will also be approached on the request for them to install community taps.