Latrikunda Sabiji Still Battling With Water Outage

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By: Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh

Residents of Latrikunda Sabiji, near Dumos-South Taxi Street garage, are still grappling with water outage and have since called on the National Water and Electricity Company Limited (NAWEC) to fix the problem. The residents said the water outage has been ongoing since August, 2021.

Following the report on the said issue in January 2022 by this medium, the Public Relation Officer of NAWEC, Pierre Sylva, promised to forward the matter to the water department so that they will take swift action in handling the issue.

However, the residents of the aforesaid neighborhood opined that NAWEC has failed to live up to expectation.

In the aforementioned neighborhood, women and under aged children were seen crossing the road to the NAWEC Branch of Latrikunda to fetch water for their needs. This activity comes with safety concerns of crossing the road amid a busy traffic.

Philip Anthony Sylva, a resident of the area, expressed his disappointment with NAWEC for failing to fulfill their promise, saying they are still struggling to get water for their daily consumption.

“I have personally talked to the NAWEC PRO and he even asked for our pole number which I hastily gave him thinking that they will swiftly take action about our water problem,” he disclosed.   

Anthony Sylva said both day and night, people from that neighborhood, predominantly women, desperately carry buckets and 20-liter gallons, while others use wheelbarrows to fetch for water from NAWEC premises and other privately owned boreholes. 

Fanta Saidy, a resident too, said since the water problem started, some compound heads dug boreholes in their homes in order to have easy access to water.

“For those of us who do not have the financial strength, we everyday take the risk of crossing the road to NAWEC to fetch for our daily use,” the mother of five highlighted.

When contacted for comment about the matter, NAWEC PRO, Pierre Sylva, said when the complaint was lodged to him, he informed the water department about the issue at hand.

In refuting the claims that NAWEC did not take any action concerning the problem, Mr. Sylva said the water department has already been to Latrikunda to examine what was wrong.

PRO Sylva added that they realized that when the main road was being constructed, some pipes were unknowingly damaged. He said the residents are not aware of the situation because the damaged pipes are buried underground.

“We did promise that we were going to do some work there but that did not happen to be honest. However, we are mobilizing the resources, logistics and materials needed to do the work,” he explained.

Nonetheless, Sylva argued that people ought to understand that NAWCE does not have the capacity to provide water to everybody in the Greater Banjul Area 24/7 at the same time.

He explained that the pipes that were fixed during the days of the Gambia Utilities Corporation (GUC) are still the ones in use. By then, he noted that the population was not dense compared to recent years, which he attributed to be the main factor of all these problems.

“People should be patient with us and know that they are very dear to our hearts. We have an open-door policy and if they have any problem concerning our services, they can come to our office in order to regulate that issue,” he urged Gambians.

Notwithstanding, PRO Sylva apologised to every Gambian for any inconvenience caused, saying that it is not their wish as service providers and is their responsibility to address people’s power problems.