Liberia Municipal Water Project I, Planning and Design
Tetra Tech helped position Liberia to address water sector challenges by planning and designing new utilities and systems that brought clean water through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Liberia Municipal Water Project I (LMWP I).
Piped drinking water had not flowed in most of Liberia’s secondary cities for a quarter century. Shortly after the Liberian civil conflict began in 1989, these systems were destroyed leaving urban residents dependent on unreliable and contaminated water sources like shallow wells and surface waters. As a result, local capacity in water supply engineering, operations, maintenance, and management became non-existent.
As USAID’s implementing partner, Tetra Tech improved water supply access to 90 percent of the population in three county capitals—Robertsport, Voinjama, and Sanniquellie—and empowered locally-based entities to technically and financially sustain the water service.
Tetra Tech supported the planning, design, tendering, execution, and operation of water supply infrastructure improvements and assisted local and national authorities to develop and implement strategies for water supply improvements, one of which was the development of mini-systems. This provided an intermediary solution to the communities and access to a clean water source before three large-scale treatment facilities were built.
LMWP worked closely with the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) and local stakeholders to facilitate the development of master plans for each city. Tetra Tech completed detailed construction designs for all three cities, supported the tendering process, and began providing construction quality assurance on mini systems.
LMWP I began the process to re-establish local capacity to sustainably operate and maintain the improvements. Tetra Tech facilitated consensus from all stakeholders on a new institutional framework for utility management that adds national and local accountability with a focus on financial sustainability. We helped establish local steering committees that served as a mechanism for public participation in planning and operational oversight for the first time.
Through on-the-job and classroom trainings, Tetra Tech strengthened the capacity of LWSC, local stakeholders, and the private sector to plan, construct, operate, and manage water infrastructure. This included setting cost-reflective tariffs, instituting financial procedures, and monitoring technical and financial performance indicators and progress toward cost recovery goals. These capacity building workshops enabled government and local stakeholders to conceptualize and implement a water treatment system that provides long-term access to clean water and contributes to the economy.
By 2016, the system had become the primary drinking water source for more than half of Robertsport’s residents, selling hundreds of thousands of jerricans of water via kiosks and reducing distances traveled to obtain water by more than half. The system increased its cost recovery from 21 percent in 2013 to 67 percent in 2016.
Following LMWP I, USAID selected Tetra Tech under the Liberia Municipal Water Project II to ensure the three treatment facilities were built in accordance with our design, facilitate institutional reform, and build operations and maintenance capacity.