The Liberia Compact’s Energy Project is Also Improving Water Supply
December 15, 2020
Alongside improving the country’s power supply, the Energy Project includes several complementary activities. One such activity is the construction of an $18 million raw water pipeline from Mount Coffee to the White Plains water treatment plant. Since rehabilitating the Mount Coffee dam interrupted the natural flow of the river, the new pipeline improves the quantity and quality of the raw water supply available for treatment.
The White Plains water treatment plant was originally built in 1957 with funding from the United States. With the support of other development partners, it was expanded in 1970 to provide around 18 million gallons (68,100 cubic meters) of drinking water per day to people in the capital city Monrovia. However, Liberia’s devastating civil war in the 1990s destroyed the dam and pipeline leading to the treatment plant, requiring the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC), a state-owned water management company, to pump water to the plant directly from the St. Paul river in White Plains. Water quality suffered as a result.
The Ripple Effect of a Better Water Pipeline
Upgrades under the pipeline activity in MCC’s compact included installing a larger pipe to increase the capacity and create more consistent water supply to Monrovia’s growing population of 1.1 million people. The project also protected against salt-water intrusion, a problem that occurred during the dry season when the up-river tidal flow would make the water saline. Furthermore, the new pipeline is expected to reduce LWSC’s electricity costs by $780,000 per year as a result of replacing the old pump system with a gravity-fed system.
MCC has also been supporting health initiatives within communities along the pipeline’s path. Through a contract with the Liberian Red Cross Society, communities received training on HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 awareness and prevention that included testing and counseling services at nearby health clinics. In addition, communities have had broken hand pumps replaced, eight new wells and hand pumps installed, and the training of community water management committees to oversee and maintain the new equipment—all resulting in improved water quality.
MCC’s work complements other donor efforts, including a project by the African Development Bank to improve infrastructure and staff capacity at the water treatment plant, and ongoing projects by the World Bank that are rehabilitating and extending Monrovia’s piped water system. To ensure the lasting success of pipeline operations and maintenance, MCC is planning to coordinate with these donors, further building the capacity of LWSC. MCC is also funding training, spare parts, and additional equipment for LWSC. Overall, MCC’s efforts in Liberia aim to ensure the compact’s sustainability and the country’s long-term economic growth and prosperity.