Jun 18, 2010, 1:13 PM
The Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters has expressed concern regarding the alarming increase in the theft of water supply hand pumps and solar panels.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry, the government in collaboration with development partners have put in place these water supply facilities and equipment in various communities across the country to ensure that Gambians have access to adequate potable water.
The release added that thanks to this endeavour 84% of the rural populace now has access to improved sources of drinking water supply.
However, it continued, the increasing rate of the theft of hand pumps from wells and solar panels from the reticulation systems in the rural areas is reversing gains in the realization of the Millennium Development Goal 7 which is "to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation," and also the Vision 2020 goal of 100% access to potable water sources within the shortest possible time.
"The Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters would like to point out that not only are these thefts denying local communities access to clean water supply, but also causing danger to the solar water supply systems, thus increasing the risk of water-borne diseases and poor hygiene and sanitation in the communities."
The Ministry urged the communities to make every effort to put a stop to these thefts by putting in place their own security arrangements to remedy the situation.
The Ministry also urged the communities to always report any theft cases to the nearest police station.
Those involve in selling and causing damage to these facilities should know that they are committing serious crimes, and will be prosecuted and punished when apprehended, the release concluded.