NAWEC Says Talks Ongoing to Mitigate Water Crisis in Bundung   

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By Mariama Marong and Mustapha Jallow  

Mr Pierre Sylva, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the National Water and Electricity Company Limited (NAWEC), on Thursday, 7 September said talks and efforts are currently ongoing to address the water crisis affecting the residents of Bundung.  

 “We are working hard to see how best we will mitigate the pains of our customers at Bundung,’’ he remarked.  

Sylva added that NAWEC is mandated to provide water, electricity and sewage services to Gambians, adding that the government is concerned with the situation that residents in Bundung are finding it hard to have access to water. He revealed that discussions had already started between NAWEC and the Presidency to provide a lasting solution for the acute water supply at Bundung. 

He made these remarks at the NAWEC head office in Kanifing while responding to the concerns of disgruntled women of Bundung – who recently stomped on the Bundung Highway with empty buckets, pans, and gallons in an effort to draw President Barrow’s attention to their nightmares regarding the shortage of water that gripped their community.  

This event happened when President Barrow was visiting Bundung for the inauguration of the newly built Police Station. Residents thought the passing of the presidential motorcade was an opportunity they had been waiting for so long – to express their pain and frustration.  

 “Yes, we understand that some women in Bundung were out during the inauguration of the Bundung Police Station to express their anger to the Presidency – that they have not been getting water. They have issues regarding water that is supplied by NAWEC. It is their rights and responsibilities as citizens because they voted for the government to provide them with crucial services,’’ said the NAWEC spokesperson.   

However, Mr Sylva believes that as Gambians and tax payers, the recent protest could have been done long since, saying the protesters {Bundung-residents} could have just approached NAWEC to say, “We are going through these nightmares. We are going through these problems of not having water during the day or night.’’ This way, he added, NAWEC could have intervened to provide a solution to the water dilemma. Notwithstanding, he said steps are being taken to curb the crisis.  

Sylva said acute water shortage is not only a problem at Bundung, but some parts of the Greater Banjul Area (GBA). According to the NAWEC PRO, the water shortage in the GBA is due to the fact that demand is higher than supply, adding that NAWEC does not have enough boreholes to meet the demand of customers. 

“Our supply is less than the demand and Bundung is not alone in this, some other areas are also encountering similar situations,’’ he said. 

Sylva lamented that the second issue hindering the residents of Bundung for not having access to water isthe borehole situated at the market.

He recalls that they had decided to build a borehole around the market but it was canceled because the women residents protested against the use of the market premises. 

Speaking further, PRO Sylva said the current piping is also affecting the supply of water, with the company planning to lay wider pipes to ease the situation at the place. 

He emphasized that NAWEC does not have adequate water to supply every customer at once, but said they are developing measures to address the issue with the help of water projects to be implemented by NAWEC. 

“NAWEC is aware that some people do not have access to water during the daytime and we are also aware that some people only have water during early morning, but for people not having a drop of water for entirely a month or so, has not come to our knowledge,’’ he told reporters. 

With regards to residents’ complaint of paying water bills without water being supplied to them, Sylva reveals that the company levies charges for the meter service because it is a property of the company.

He proclaimed that the situation of Bundung will be addressed soon as discussions are ongoing with relevant stakeholders. And he noted that there must be a solution to the problem of Bundung. He said they will embark on system improvement, where they will connect pipes to surrounding communities to ease the situation of acute water supply. 

Meanwhile, readers could recall that the women of Bundung staged a protest against NAWEC for failing to provide them with water on September 2. This followed some women also stomping on the Bundung highway to express their pain to President Barrow.