From 1982 to 2022, the country is still unable to satisfy its population’s need for drinking water; neither in quantity nor in quality.
The plethora of organisations (Snec, Camwater, Camerounaise des Eaux, Ministry of Water and Energy…) dedicated to the supply and distribution of drinking water in Cameroon are experiencing enormous difficulties.
Among the obstacles are structural dysfunctions, the galloping demography of the city, severe low water levels, and breakages, leaks and thefts of networks caused by brigands…or untimely power cuts by the company that supplies electricity.
Faced with the maxim ‘water is life’, the people of the North, a major electoral basin of the CPDM, will reply, ‘water is worth life’. Not once, not twice, several citizens have lost their lives while going in search of water in this part of the country.
“I lost two children to water, the children left the house to fetch water, curiously I was called by some stranger who said my children drowned in the well and I only brought the two bodies home,” a mother told Africanews in 2019. Cases like this can be cited in large numbers.
Tokombere, Mokio, Takamsa and many other localities in Northern Cameroon are experiencing the ordeal of lack of water. In these villages, women are also forced to walk for miles or dig holes in the sand to collect water. The water is unfit for consumption, with the risk of water-borne diseases.
However, a presidential promise in 2011 provided for the construction of 3,000 boreholes to protect the north.
The realisation of this campaign promise from the 2011 presidential election was included as a priority project in the budget of the Ministry of Water and Energy for the period 2023-2025. By this date, the government has yet to develop 1431 boreholes for the three northern regions.
In 2016, the Ministry of Water and Energy had indicated that this project would be included in the water and energy component of the three-year Emergency Plan for Accelerated Economic Growth, launched in 2014 for the 2015-2017 triennium.
Paul Tasong, Minister Delegate at the Ministry of the Economy, explained to MPs on Tuesday 22 June 2022, that in 2020, the sum of CFAF 5 billion had been injected to advance this project, which to date has still not been completed. Nevertheless, 1,569 other boreholes have already been built in these regions over the past ten years, as part of this promise by the Head of State.
If the ”Septentrion” seems very far away, remember that the disruption of water supply has taken up residence for several weeks in Yaoundé, the political capital of the country.
To remedy the situation, loans were made
September 2022, the State of Cameroon requested a credit of 35.16 million dollars, or a little over 23 billion CFA francs, from Eximbank-India to finance the project to reconfigure the drinking water distribution network in the city of Yaounde. The project will allow for the supply and installation of 348 km of tertiary network.
Apart from the city of Yaoundé, the Indian company WPIL signed a contract in 2018 for the design, rehabilitation and construction of drinking water supply systems in 20 Cameroonian cities. This project, which is to be implemented in the Centre, Littoral, West, North-West, South-West and South regions, will swallow up an overall budget of 34 billion CFA francs, according to the Ministry of Water and Energy.