GoAL WaSH Liberia
The project is supporting the establishment of a national Water Supply and Sanitation regulatory agency, the WSSC. The WSSC is the regulatory agency that should be responsible for regulation of tariffs, licenses, Public Private Partnerships, service standards and water laws compliance, in order to ensure that water and sanitation services are provided in an efficient, fair and sustainable manner. The institution should act as an arbiter between various interests, namely those of customers, politicians and service providers.
There are currently only limited standards for governing regulatory aspect of water and sanitation services in Liberia. There are no licences for water and sanitation supply and no coordinated service standards off which to monitor and regulate service delivery. This results in poor services and unpaid bills. Water laws need to be developed as there are competing users for water, this is especially important in a country that is evolving from conflict; water that used to be accessed by simply digging or drilling a well anywhere needs to be accounted for and equitably distributed in order to mitigate against conflict and to support development.
The absence of a functioning regulatory agency has led to continued fragmentation of roles and responsibilities within the sector, and has stifled the development of a vibrant private sector in water and sanitation services
In January 2012 the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, signed the Liberia WASH Compact. The Liberia WASH Compact was developed as a result of the Joint Mission held in Monrovia in April 2011, supported by the Government of Liberia and the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership. Through the Compact the Government, with the support of development partners and civil society, outlined a series of commitments to ensure equitable and sustainable delivery of water and sanitation services for all Liberians. One of the commitments was to establish a regulatory agency for the sector, the Water Supply and Sanitation Commission (WSSC).
The GoAL WaSH Programme started in 2011, with support from the Basque Water Agency (URA), and the immediate priority for the sector was getting the Liberia WASH Compact developed. Since then the Programme has focused on supporting sector coordination and the establishment of a national regulatory agency, the Water Supply and Sanitation Commission (WSSC). It is envisaged that the WSSC will regulate tariff setting and enforcement, issuance of licenses, establish Public Private Partnerships, set service standards and ensure Water Law compliance.
In 2016 the National Water Supply and Sanitation Commission (WSSC) Act, drafted with support of GoAL WaSH, was submitted to the House of Senate. The first draft of the Water Regulation Guidelines was completed, as well as the Liberia Water Authority Act, combining direction and regulation of both water resources and water services. In 2017 the WSSC Act was passed by the Liberian House of Senate. The Act was signed off by all relevant government departments and approved by the President of Liberia in November the same year. In August 2018 the new President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, appointed the head of the WSSC and members of the board, this means that the Commission is now officially established.