By Omar Bah
A group of concerned Gambians the Manding Network, has called on the government to urgently address the country’s water and electricity situation especially in the provinces.
According to the group, thousands of Gambians especially in the provinces are drinking substandard water, which highlights the need for government action to make changes to the way drinking water is provided and regulated.
“Nearly 20 percent of Gambians are drinking from public water supply that doesn’t meet drinking water standards,” the Manding Network said in a statement shared with The Standard.
The group said many smaller communities continue to fail to supply “demonstrably safe drinking water”.
“Not only is this a hazard to residents in those communities, visitors to this country are also at risk of infection through drinking inadequately treated water,” the group said. The group calls for the need for the establishment of an independent drinking water regulator who is prepared to enforce the drinking water standards.
The group singled out the Brikama Area Council for doing little to ensure its residents are accorded potable water.
“We express frustration and dissatisfaction with the leadership in Brikama Area Council. What is the purpose of people paying their taxes to Area councils if they don’t care about their welfare,” the group argued.
The group said the council has “no plans in place to step in for any crisis”.
“Brikama and its surrounding villages went out of water for days recently but there was no immediate measure to remedy the situation. This is disappointing and unacceptable. We are appealing to President Barrow to step up efforts to address these concerns,” it said.
The group said it has done a thorough finding of the issue of water shortages in the country and realised that the government should double up in its efforts.
“The Network has visited some places for humanitarian assistance and during our visits we were glad to come across many communities that are badly in need of water supply,” they added.
The group congratulated all those who stepped in to support the recent disaster victims through the Network.