By Mustapha Jallow
Residents of the said community told this reporter that they had a meeting with BAC and were informed that their street taps would be restored very soon but that they will be paying for the water with D1 per bucket and D2 per 20 litres gallon.
Visiting the said community on 26 November, 2015 to find out from the residents, it was to observe that the streets were not open but that they were located in newly constructed cement block enclosures under lock and key.
Some of the residents have also complained about the lack of access to water as the taps have been closed for almost two months now.
Mrs. Maka Wally, a housewife, who was seen with a bucket looking for water, said she uses the tap water for cooking her meals. She said with the closure of the taps, she is now compelled to beg for water from neighbours in order to cook her meals.
She also explained that they have wells but that the water is only used for laundry and cleaning in the household.
“We don’t have the financial means to install a tap in our compound, said Mrs. Wally.
A resident, Momodou Baldeh, who is a shopkeeper, also complain about the difficulties being caused to them by the closure of the street taps which supply them with water for cooking and drinking.
“Sometimes I have use the bottle water I sell for drinking which, as you know, is not good for the business,” he revealed.
Mrs. Malado Bah, another resident, said since the closure of the street tap in their neighbourhood, it has now become a practice for those without taps in their homes to go round and beg for water from those who have taps.
She said the community had met with Council and agreed for the payment of D100 from each compound that uses the taps for them to be reopened. She said they have already paid the said sum and are now waiting for NAWEC to reopen the taps. She explained that the Council asked them to paying for the water they draw from the tap, and that someone would be stationed there to be receiving the payments which will be recorded in a cash book.
She lamented the introduction of the user charges, adding that it would be very difficult for some families to be able to sustain this.
The residents called on the authorities to be considerate with the families that are struggling very hard to make ends meet on a daily basis.
When contacted on the issue, Modou Jonga, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of Brikama Area Council (BAC), confirmed to Foroyaa that the public taps in Brikama Nyambai would be restored but that each of the compounds that are using it has to pay D100 and that the monies will be put in an account operated by the management committees set up for each of these street taps. He said the water bill of each tap will then be paid from the money in this account.
The BAC PRO further said that the community of Nyambai has already established these management committees for each street tap in the area and submitted the list to the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC).
Asked whether the members who constitute these management committees were selected by the Council, he responded in the negative, but added that the establishment of the committees and mode of operation were done by NAWEC which is the sole service provider.
Also confirming the introduction of user charges to this reporter was Alhagi Janko Jaiteh, the Alkalo of Brikama-Nyambai. He said in their meeting with Council they that every person who comes to fetch water will have pay D1 for every bucket and D2 for every 20 litres container. He also assured the concerned residents that the taps will reopen soon and that they should be patient with NAWEC.