By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia’s Petroleum and Energy Minister Fafa E. Sanyang, has explained to Deputies the factors responsible for the recent erratic supply of water and electricity within the Greater Banjul Area (GBA) and part of the West Coast Region.
Energy Minister Sanyang made these explanations yesterday December 18th, 2019 when he was responding to questions raised by the country’s Lawmakers at the Legislative House in Banjul.
According to Sanyang, there was a short period in November when electricity was less stable due to engine maintenance works by both NAWEC and CARPOWER, which temporarily resulted to unplanned outage of engines and faults in the transmission and distribution lines; that noticeably, stability has recently been restored, whereas water supply has been affected by lack of enough storage capacity and the heavy reliance on pumping for distribution; reduced production capacity and the ongoing replacement of the Asbestos pipes, coupled with other problems associated with the aging distribution network.
“Power outages are being contained in recent months and it is worthy to note that the water and sanitation project in the Greater Banjul Area and the asbestos replacement and network rehabilitation project, will improve water supply services,” Sanyang told Deputies.
He said a water expert has recently been appointed by NAWEC on a short contract basis to support the water division of the Utility Company and improve services; that there is already a gradual improvement in that area.
Halifa Sallah, the Member for Serre Kunda asked the Minister to indicate whether his Ministry has prepared a comprehensive plan to know the whole architecture of the pipes in the urban area and indicate concretely, what an expert would do in order to ensure that the facility that requires the provision of adequate water in the area, is actually put in place.
In his response to the Member for Serre Kunda, Minister Sanyang responded that prior to embarking on any project, they conduct feasibility studies and this enables them to know the imbalance in the demand and supply. He disclosed that they have projects in place to look at the capacity and supply pipes that they have discovered, and the bad networks of some pipes, coupled with the settlement planning and the ultimate addressing of the scenarios as they affect water supply services.
“A comprehensive master plan is something we have to develop to be able to address the challenges and make long term plans in relation to water supply,” he said.
Sidia Jatta, the Member for Wuli West told the Minister that water is crucial to the wellbeing of the citizenry. He further asked the Minister when the problem of inadequate water supply will be a thing of the past for the citizenry.
In his response, Energy Minister Sanyang described the inadequate supply of water as frustrating for his Ministry and the country’s Utility Company. He disclosed that they have built ten bore holes and are currently building power lines to these bore holes to be able to supply water adequately to communities.