A study by “The Gambia Participates” has revealed critical failures in NAWEC’s water service delivery to the public in the Gambia.
The Gambia Participates launched a pilot project with support from the International Republican Institute (IRI) to conduct a rapid survey through a community scorecard to determine & assess the quality and quantity of water supply from citizens’ perspective.
Over the past decades, many households in the country have been experiencing water shortages. The situation left several households within the outskirt of the Greater Banjul Area to go days or sometimes months without water.
“The results of the survey reveal that while households in Bakoteh pay more for water services, they receive lesser water coverage than the remaining communities. In addition, in Bakau, users’ satisfaction on NAWEC water service is shallow while Bakoteh, London Corner, and Fiji Kunda also demonstrated lack of user satisfaction,” the survey indicated.
Even though others might be lucky to get water supply, areas in Banjul experienced smelly waters from their taps, making it unhealthy for drinking.
The survey’s format used Community Score Cards (CSCs) that provide independent feedback from the perspective of public service users. CSCs could be used as credible tools in collecting the evidence needed to conduct strategic advocacy and improve service delivery. In addition, these scorecards are conducted independently of government structures.
The report also shows that “Bakau and Bakoteh receives an average of 9 hours water supply per day which does not meet daily demand.”
The affordability of Nawec’s water service is used as a criterion to assess the monthly payment for water service against the household head’s monthly income. To help archive the study’s objective, the study used two the monthly water payment and monthly income.
According to the respondents, water services provided by NAWEC are not affordable. Respondents’ complaints that water service bills are not the real reflection of the actual water usage.
Bakau has an average monthly income of 19,000 GMD with an average monthly water payment bill of 602 GMD. On the other hand, Bakoteh shows an average monthly income of 7,730 GMD. At the same time, Banjul, Ebo-Town, Faji-Kunda, and London Corner have 13,000, 8,000, 11,000, and 11,750 GMD, respectively, as average monthly income household heads. In the same vein, the said households’ (Banjul, Ebo-Town, Faji-Kunda, and London Corner) have 293.77, 932.4, 495.1, and 1,305.6 GMD of monthly water payment bills, respectively.
Water continuity in Bakau and Bakoteh shows 9 hours per day on average, representing the lowest, Banjul shows an average water supply of 20 hours a day, Fajikunda had 14 hours, London Corner had 17 hours per day, and Ebo-Town presents the highest amount of water continuity of 24 hours per day.
Water quantity in Bakoteh represents the lowest in terms of water supply in liters (average of 116 liters per day), and London Corner represents the highest quantity of water supply of 296 liters,
NAWEC has been facing heavy criticism for its inconsistencies and lack of strategy in providing affordable clean water and electricity in some parts of the country. In addition, the institution has been struggling with institutional weaknesses and a lack of adequate capacity and materials to meet the demands of its users.
Thursday’s heavy windstorm has worsened matters, leaving many destructions of lives and property, resulting in a total blackout in the supply of water and electricity.
A recent investigative report by the Center for Investigative Journalism has found out that many households in the country experienced drinking unclean water, leading to E. coli.
The most recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report released in July 2019 found that 73.2% of the country’s 2.2 million population had E.coli in household drinking water.
The Gambia Participate has recommended an increased inspection of meters and water connections in the GBA. For NAWEC to address the low coverage of water supplied in and beyond Banjul are free smell, taste, or color, among others.
NAWEC should as well address the low coverage of water, especially in Bakoteh and Bakau. Above all, Gambia Participates recommends establishing an office responsible for water service delivery at the Ministry of Petroleum or PURA to serve as an oversight office on NAWEC for water affairs.