Eighty-five year-old Matthew Christopher Faulkner has called on the government to take the issue of water seriously as residents of Wilberforce are in dire need of it.
In an interview with Awoko, Mr Faulkner disclosed that in the past “we have three pipes which used to supply water to the whole of Wilberforce and we had enough water from these pipes throughout the year. It was only in the dry season when people fought over the water issue and damaged the pipes that these pipes would be shut and then it could be until June when we would start another rainy season then the water crisis will stop.”
He added that, “even at that we have our stream where we used to get water.” Revealing that this method of getting water continued till 1939 when during the war the military cleared all the bushes covering the stream as they were afraid that enemies would hide in those bushes.”
He went on, “finally when they completed the Guma dam, they told us that there was no need for us to use the Babadorie stream again as the Guma dam would supply us water, but that only lasted for about four to five years after which we started to get trouble again because our site at Babadorie did not depend on electricity for the circulation of water but for Guma electricity is needed to pump water.”
Continuing he said, “we at this Freetown area do suffer a lot to get water as people have to go way down to Congo Cross to fetch water. If you go down to Tengbeh Town you will see lots of pipes that are damaged. What I am thinking is that if Guma can supply water to Tengbeh Town why not Wilberforce? The water that goes to Tengbeh Town passes through Wilberforce so if they close the pipes at Tengbeh Town for just 2/3 days then we will have water which we will manage.”
The octogenarian urged the government that “the water crisis at Wilberforce is a burning issue and we are not seeing any sign of development on the water problem so we want them to do something about it.”
Speaking on the issue of electricity Pa Faulkner said, “light is a bit better because in the past we went for about 3-6 months without it but now it has improved though it is not frequent.”
The road, he went on, was another burning issue as in the past during the ‘headman’ tenure, “before Wilberforce was absorbed into the urban area as we were a rural area, those days were the ‘Cedis and Pence’ days. What happened at that time was that when the headman collected the tax which was six Pence in a Pound for the maintenance of the road and they would use those six Pence for the said purpose and there were good roads at that time. But the roads are now worst than before… no repairs or maintenance are done although they are regarding us as an urban area”.
“But I believe the major problem affecting the country not only Wilberforce is congestion because in the past you will see “to let” signs on houses. But it is not happening because the city is congested so the government should try to control the influx of people into the city,” Mr Faulkner said.