Access to potable water: Government obtains loan to fund projects in Buea, Tiko, Mutengene

The President of the Republic, H.E. Paul Biya on Monday 29th January 2018 authorised the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development to engage in a loan agreement to fund a potable water project in some parts of the South West Region.

According to the agreement signed with Société General, the sum of five million US Dollars (CFA three billion) will be allocated for feasibility studies and conception of the project for the rehabilitation and extension of the system of treatment and distribution of water in Buea, Tiko and Mutengene.

Story of water situation in Buea, Tiko and Mutengene

In Bweteva, a small locality just opposite the main market in Buea, pipe borne water is an inaccessible luxury but there is a spot that attracts people from long distances. It serves as a spring for potable water and a stream for cleaning.

At the topmost area, households fetch clean water to cook and drink; downwards, water is fetched for laundry and other household chores.

Most of the people who come here cannot afford bore holes reason why some use trucks to get large quantities of water, as Hilda who has experienced the water scarcity troubles recounts.

Suzanne lives in Santa Barbara, a neighbourhood in Buea that has been blessed with potable water connection but she expresses frustration at the regular water shortage.

She states, “Hardly does a week go by without water supply interruption in my neighbourhood. It is however not as alarming as in other areas that go without pipe borne water for two or more days in a week.”

To cope with the situation, Suzanne says, “Most of the time, we are forced to get up after midnight to fill containers; we notice the taps flow after midnight till about six am.”

Chancelline, a medical doctor still in Buea affirms the pipe borne water sometimes has an odour. She was glad to note that Molyko (the neighbourhood where she lives) is now better in supply than before.

In Bonduma, still in Buea, “Landlords build houses without connecting pipes for water because there is no water in the area,” says Christelle. She explains that there are two public taps which were constructed to solve the problem but they don’t flow all day.

“In order to carry water, people leave their houses by four am to fetch water and still meet a crowd! Others go to fetch water at seven pm when there is less congestion. Some people even go as far as Koke and Bewetva to fetch water!” Christelle laments. Motor bike riders have taken advantage of the situation to make brisk business as they supply water to households at 1000 CFAF for seven jugs.

Photo credit

In Mutengene the story is no better; Nadia says most inhabitants depend almost entirely on those with boreholes. “Water flows after every two or three days for an average of three hours and on a very low pressure making it hard for everyone to fill containers,” Nadia elucidates.

This explains why many have invested in bore holes or buy from water sales points eventhough these have proven that the water is of doubtful quality.

“Even when we buy water, we can’t let it stay long in the container because it gets all slimy with algae and spirogyra growth,” Nadia sighs.

The situation in Tiko is not very different from that in Mutengene.

These stories are just few of the many that recount the ordeal of the people in the South West Region and other parts of the country.

“Water is life” so says an adage but sadly enough, the precious liquid is not available in all parts of the country and even when it is, the quality is sometimes questionable.

The weight of the presidential decree to provide more of this resource to Cameroonians in the South West Region gives enough reason to heave a sigh of relief.

Eleanor Ayuketah

Read more about steps to step up water supply in Cameroon by following this link.

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