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Thursday, February 25, 2010


Yaounde and Douala, the two biggest towns of Cameroon are facing their worst water shortage ever. Pipe borne water has not flowed in some neighbourhoods for 6 months. The water shortage that has been affecting mostly areas on the fringes of the towns is now more widespread touching the heart of the administrative and economic chief towns.
In Yaounde over the past week, government has been rationing water, in an attempt to ensure an even distribution of the available water. Some neighbourhoods get a trickle of water twice every week, and often late at night.
Another stop gap measure is a daily distribution of water free of charge by water tanks of the police, fire brigade, and city council, to some of the worst-hit areas.
City-dwellers queue up day and night at streams, in most of the valleys of Yaounde to fetch water for drinking and home use. In other parts of town they queue up behind water distribution trucks, while some individuals have been re-selling water at more than twice the cost to desperate persons in need. A 20 litre jug of water can be sold at 100CFAF.
Statistics from Cameroon’s Water and Energy ministry indicate that only 30% of Cameroon’s 18.millions people have access to potable water.
According to Joseph Kenmogne, chief of Division for distribution of the Company in charge of the production and distribution of water in the country, la Camerounaise des Eaux, (CDE), the city of Yaoundé requires a daily water supply of 160.000cubic meters. But the Nkomnyala treatment station (which supplies the town), produces only 100.000cubic meters of water.
“This shortfall is not only explained by the fact for the past twenty years, no investments had been carried out in the water sector in Cameroon, but also by the fact that existing infrastructure had been abandoned”.
Cameroon’s Water and Energy minister, Michael Ngangko Tomdio explained Friday in a news conference that these setbacks came as a result of the economic crisis that hit the country in the 1980s. He said “the economic structural re-adjustment plans enforced upon Cameroon by the Bretton Woods institutions to achieve the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative, prevented the government of Cameroon from making any investments in the water sector for the past 20 years”.”

The forecasts
The Cameroon government now plans to step up national access to potable water from 29% to 60% by 2025. On Thursday January 21, 2010; the Cameroon government signed two conventions: one with the French Development agency, the other with the European Development Bank worth a total of 65billions CFAF ($130millions).
The money will be used to improve water supply to five townships in Cameroon: Yaounde, Douala, Bertoua, Ngaoundere and Edea.
According to the Director-General of the Cameroon Water Utilities (the state owned company that has to scout for finances), Basil Atangana Kouna, the fresh investments will take up supply in Douala from 105000 cubic metres per day to 280000cc/day; in Yaoundé from 100000ccm/day to 250000ccm/day; in Edea from 2000ccm/day to 5000ccm/day; in Bertoua from 2000ccm/day to 5000ccm/day and in Ngaoundere from 6000ccm/day to 12000ccm/day.
Mr. Atangana Kouna also reveals that CAMWATER has elaborated a 10-year investment programme worth over 400billions FCFA (approx. $800millions). Of this amount, 250billions FCFA (US$500.000.000)
Work begins in 10 localities in 2010.
Cameroon’s minister of Water and Energy, Michael Tomdio told the press that current efforts fall in line with the much trumped up ‘greater ambitions’ development program enunciated by Cameroon’s president Paul Biya.