Jan 13, 2009, 6:44 AM
Vice President Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy Wednesday presided over the official lunching of an $11 million national water sector reform project, and rural water supply and sanitation project.
The objective of the projects is to support the establishment of the integrated water resource management in The Gambia, which is in line with the national water policy and the (IWRM) roadmap, and will facilitate efficient, effective and equitable water resource management, throughout the country, and support economic growth as well as improve livelihoods so as to reduce poverty.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Coco Ocean Resort and Spa, the vice president said it is a common knowledge for any meaningful and enviable socioeconomic development, and without reliable and sustainable supply of clean water, human survival will be challenged, agriculture will be crippled, and industry and all other sectors of the economy will not be able to provide the needed products and service for the economic growth and social wellbeing of the nation.
She says the government considers water as a basic human right, and it is in the recognition of this reality that she is most delighted to be associated with this occasion, adding that the launching of the two grant projects is a landmark occasion and, like the others, shall leave an indelible mark on the annals of the development history of The Gambia.
The vice president also recognised the effort of the country’s traditional partners, notably Japan, the EU, Saudi Arabia, and the UNDP, whose contributions to the water sector have made it possible for the overwhelming majority of the Gambians to have access to safe drinking water.
The government is committed to achieving 100% coverage of water supply, she said, adding she was notified that the rural water supply and sanitation project values at US$8million.
The project would provide improved access to water supply and sanitation for about 60,000 people in 22 rural communities, by providing new and rehabilitated boreholes and sanitation facilities.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Fisheries, Water Resource and National Assembly Matters, Abdou Colley, highlighted that the beneficiary communities should make sure the water facilities are maintained and well protected, which involves huge amount of money.
“Water is very vital, and without which there will be no good health and education, and therefore it should be managed rationally,” Minister Colley said.
The director of water resource, Baba Ceesay, explained that over the last thirty years, the United Nations has been especially conscious of the significant role water and sanitation plays in human development, and has set out to define some general plans for development.
Noting that the women play fundamental role in the provision, management and safekeeping of water, Ceesay says water has an economic value in every aspect, which has to be recognised as an economic good.