By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Public Enterprises Committee (PEC) of the National Assembly of the Gambia, with support from the International Republican Institute, held a public hearing on issues relating to water supply in Bundung on November 9, 2023.
This public hearing served as a platform for diverse stakeholders, members of the community, and civil society organizations to engage in discussions regarding the accessibility, affordability, quality, and reliability of the water supply in Bundung. Representatives from NAWEC were present to field questions and address concerns raised by the community members, as part of the committee’s social audit process.
During the deliberations, the residents of Bundung expressed their discontent with the inadequate water supply in their locality, citing the inconvenience of receiving water late at night or in the early morning hours. They shared their difficulties, such as the need to transport water from privately owned boreholes, a strenuous task they found challenging.
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Responding to the concerns voiced by the residents, Mbakeh Jaiteh, a NAWEC representative, acknowledged the gravity of the water shortage issue in Bundung. He affirmed that NAWEC is committed to finding solutions to this problem and highlighted the underlying challenge in Bundung and other communities in The Gambia: the lack of adequate water supply capacity. NAWEC has been actively working to mitigate this problem.
Jaiteh emphasized the importance of identifying the root causes of the water shortage, stating, “With the shortage of water in Bundung and other communities in the Greater Banjul area, we identified the problem first because if you have issues, you must identify the problem first to know the solution.” He acknowledged that the constraints on water supply capacity affect not only Bundung but also the entire Greater Banjul area, including Banjul. “So we know among the challenges that lead to the shortage of water in Bundung first and foremost, is the lack of capacity, not only in Bundung but the entire Greater Banjul area, including Banjul,” he said.
He also praised the ongoing efforts of Honorable Sulayman Jammeh, the National Assembly Member for the constituency, in addressing the water shortage issue. Jaiteh shared that they have been collaborating with Jammeh on various initiatives aimed at resolving the situation, including site visits and discussions.
“I know in terms of strength, Honorable Sulayman Jammeh is not giving up at any point. I think just two months away, we had a meeting, and we also did a site visit, which were all his efforts to see how best he can work with NAWEC to address the situation,” he said.
Furthermore, Jaiteh disclosed that NAWEC is actively working on projects to install boreholes in specific communities, thus enhancing water accessibility. He encouraged the residents to reach out to NAWEC if they encountered any issues or discrepancies with their water bills.