Liberian Senate passes Water Supply and Sanitation Act
The National Water Supply and Sanitation Commission Act, passed by the Liberian House of Senate on 29 August, institutes the Water and Sanitation Regulatory Agency in the country. Once operational, it will be responsible for issuing licenses and regulating tariffs and service standards in Liberia.
To support a rapid economic recovery, reconstruction and development of Liberia, it is critical to improve water and sanitation services for all citizens in the country. Today, infectious diseases can easily spread due to the lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene. The poor water and sanitation services are partly due to the poor governance and lack of regulation of the sector. In Liberia, there are no licenses for water supply and sanitation operating agencies, coordinated service standards are lacking, or monitoring of service delivery. This is a vicious cycle of poor services and unpaid bills.
The UNDP GoAL WaSH programme, which is strategically managed by the UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility, has been working with the Government of Liberia on water and sanitation governance reforms since 2011. One of the main goals has been to establish a regulatory agency for the sector. It also led the drafting of the WSSC and played a lead role in setting up the legislative WASH advocacy network.
The Act, when made operational by the Government of Liberia, will serve as a regulatory agency for the water supply and sanitation sector, responsible for regulating tariffs, licenses and service standards in Liberia. It will shortly be signed by the President and passed into law.
Improving water and sanitation services for all citizens is critical to the rapid economic recovery, reconstruction and development of Liberia. Today there are no licenses for water and sanitation supply and no coordinated service standards for monitoring and regulating service delivery. The result is poor services and unpaid bills. Water borne diseases due to the lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene are also a common problem in Liberia.
Mr. Ansumana Dukuly, a civil society activist and a resident of Clara Town, a slum community in Monrovia, commended the House of Senate for passing the WSSC Act. He emphasized that the establishment of WSSC by law is a relief to so many underserved residents that spend hours searching for safe water and decent sanitation services: “This this is a victory for all Liberians,” Dukuly said.
Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Public Works George Yarngo recognized the contributions by several organizations in advancing the Act: “My very many personal thanks for the efforts of UYPETDL, Water Aid, the Liberia WASH Consortium, the GoAL WaSH programme and the larger CSO community for the collective resolve and the fortitude to achieve a landmark history in the sector”.