By Adama Tine
The water project of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) funded by the World Bank that came on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic has finally phased out.
During a press conference on Thursday at the NAWEC headquarters, Hawa Jallow, communications officer for NAWEC disclosed that the maintenance of the water tanks that were put up with assistance of the World Bank are no longer sustainable.
The project was funded by the World Bank with the objective of giving Gambians the opportunity to have uninterrupted water supply that they can use to curb the pandemic.
According to her, the project has ended and the World Bank has declared that they can no longer continue to fund the project which was implemented by NAWEC.
She added that NAWEC on the other hand does not have the financial muscle to continue the project and would therefore decommission the tanks by Friday 15 October 2021.
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic showed its ugly head in The Gambia NAWEC with the World Bank’s support has been giving humanitarian assistance in the form of sanitizers and soap to schools and Madrassas across the country,” she said.
Tamsir Sawaneh, a representative of the Water Business Unit at NAWEC, revealed that a task force dubbed ‘Covid- 19 NAWEC Water Response’ was established on 18 March 2020 on the instructions of the then Managing Director to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.”
He added that the objective of the task force was to intervene in areas with the NAWEC network where there was acute shortage of water supply.
According to him, most of the areas that NAWEC installed the tanks were areas that were not having sufficient water supply.
“We are aware that people have access to water problems but we would like to inform the public that the end of this project is beyond us as a company because the World Bank can no longer fund the project,” he explained.
He further said that: “We would never shy away from saying that we failed the customers because we cannot give them water as much as they want but we are working tirelessly to positively improve the situation and investigations are going on to make sure the water problem is solved,” he continued.
“We would drill more boreholes within the means of the task force. I cannot precisely say when the water shortage problem would be solved but we are doing everything possible to give people the best they expect from us,” Sawaneh aslo said.
Mr. Sawaneh went on to say that NAWEC was to procure more than 300 water plastic tanks of 2000 and 5000 litres but along the way, they came to understand that the cost would be too much.
He added that what they did with the Greater Banjul Area and other laces was that they stationed the tanks at places where water shortage was very serious such as Kololi, Kunkujang, some parts of Tabokoto and Sukuta which were the most affected areas.