Like many areas in The Gambia, residents of Farato continue to struggle with the hardship born of erratic electricity and water supply. The country’s only water and electricity supplier (NAWEC) is still unable to provide these utilities to residents who suffer without anyone to come to their aid.
Awa Fatajo, a resident of Farato, said the scarcity of water and electricity supply had affected her business fatally when a D75 000.00 Ice cream machine she bought to assist her parents got damaged by the erratic NAWEC electricity supply.
“I bought this expensive machine which was Worth D75 000.00, in just a few moments, the machine got burned”.
Ms. Fatajo added: “I tried to repair for three good times, which was so expensive. However, this never helps as the machine totally got spoiled.”
She pleads that NAWEC comes to the rescue of the people in Farato and improves electricity and water as their livelihoods depend on it.
Alpha Omar Jallow is a resident of Farato and a businessman affected by this shortage of water and electricity. Alpha is a small-scale business owner whose livelihood depends on the daily sales he makes.
“I couldn’t make any sale because most of the things I sell are kept in the fridge but couldn’t get cold. At the end of the day, most customers would not like to buy because it is not cold.”
He said to get water in Farato is very difficult. It usually takes days before it comes. This eventually leads his wife to search for water in remote places.
Istaou Nyabally also explained how electricity and water shortage affects her in her daily routine. She would drive up to Brikama just in search of water.
“This is really costly as the fuel price is very high and always affects my income.”
NAWEC admits to the faulty supply of water and electricity
Pierre Sylva, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NAWEC, said the shortage of electricity is the capacity of the supply of electricity that is still far less than the demand.
“It is one thing to generate electricity but another thing to transport the electricity, this meant that the transmission and distribution of the power generated from the station through the cables that we see through the transformers, and though the feeders before it get to the people benefiting are the ones mostly affected here, because the problems that the NAWEC is facing in this issues is due to the lack of infrastructural development.”
He further said that the infrastructure required to supply the electricity is very poor, with frequent overloading of transformers that affect electricity supply.
About the shortage of water, NAWEC’s PRO said the demand is higher than the supply.
“The complaints that we mostly received about the supply of water at different time zones is due to the incapacity of the connections to pump enough water to many customers at the same time, which eventually leads to the system functioning on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. Meaning that the people with the nearest water connection to the supplies get the water first than the ones afar”.
He revealed that Finance is one of the major challenges affecting NAWEC. “The investment of electricity and water is a really huge investment,” Sylva explained.
He said there is an Indian run project to dig about 11 boreholes in the affected areas, mostly in the Greater Banjul areas.
He added that electricity would soon stabilize with The Gambia Basin Development Organization Energy Project (OMVG) dam project, consisting of four West African Countries, including Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea Conakry, to supplement electricity in the areas affected.