Jallow, the Director General of the Public Utility and Regulatory Authority
(PURA) has underscored the importance of access to safe drinking water, arguing
that human activities’ contribution to water pollution is becoming a growing
concern in both urban and rural Gambia.
“Water is a fundamental human right and a key determinant to a nation’s health,” he said. “It’s is also a key driver of our economic activities as industries depend on its availability.” “Despite its importance to our lives, water, when polluted, poses major health risks to human and animals.” He however added that water pollution can naturally occur in the ground.
Mr. Jallow was speaking yesterday at a local hotel in Kololi during the opening of a two day workshop on Water Safety Planning. Officials said the training is designed to enable the participants take preventive measures to protect drinking water (source to end use) from contaminants.
PURA boss said the training is expected to build the capacities of participants on how to protect water system from contamination. “Our objectives are to ensure that consumers are supplied with water that meets the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) drinking quality standard,” Jallow emphasised.
Alpha Robertson, managing director of NAWEC, described water as one of the most important elements of life. “As far as NAWEC is concerned, the services that we provide should look at both quantity and quality. Everybody knows that in recent times there have been problems in the water supply; inadequate supplies in some cases for a long period of time.”
This, he added, is unacceptable and it is a situation that has long history. “In addition to that, there have been growing concerns in terms of the quality of water that we supply. However, this is not only NAWEC because in the rural areas it’s water resources that supply water.”
NAWEC, Water Resources and PURA, he went on, should work together in order to have a coherent strategy and coherent delivery strategy.
“I’m sure we will be working together to have a national strategy. The problem of water supply is mostly due to the negligence of the infrastructure and negligent of the capacity; both human as well as materials that have led to the situation where we are today.”
According to him, the reality of The Gambia at the moment is that there’s only one single water lab – the lab in Abuko under the Department of Water Resources. “A good water utility must have its own lab. It’s not good to take samples quarterly. There must be a daily monitoring of the quality of water that we supply and this is what we intend to do at NAWEC,” he disclosed.
He maintained that NAWEC, Water Resources and PURA will work together as partners who have one common interest so that they can achieve the common objective of providing clean and potable water for the people of The Gambia.
Alieu Ngum, PURA chairman, board of directors, underscored the importance of the forum, adding that maintaining good quality and quantity of water supply has become a global challenge especially in developing countries; “as we move towards achieving goal six of the U.N SDGs for universal access to clean water by the year 2030.”