Serving both rich and poor
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CTA. 2001. Serving both rich and poor. Rural Radio Resource Pack 01/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57326
Jin Jokwi Simon, the provincial chief for water and sanitation in North West Cameroon, explaining that irrigated agriculture may soon raise the issue of water rights in the province.
Serving both rich and poor CUE: As the provincial chief for water and sanitation in the North West province of Cameroon, Jin Jokwi Simon has a lot to think about. For example his ministry is laying a pipeline from a hilly area to a town some kilometres away. The pipeline passes through another village which itself has no reliable source of clean, potable - or drinkable - water. If the village is not given access to some of the water, there is a risk that someone will try to sabotage or damage the pipeline in order to collect water, and none will reach the town. And when water is supplied to a town or village, how can he serve the interests of both the rich people who would like to have water piped to their homes, as well as the poor who cannot afford that kind of service? Martha Chindong spoke to Jin Jokwi Simon, and began by asking him how successful the government water projects in North West Cameroon have been. IN: ?Most of our rural gravity flow? OUT: ?any problem of water rights yet? DUR?N 3?04?? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Jin Jokwi Simon, the provincial chief for water and sanitation in North West Cameroon, explaining that irrigated agriculture may soon raise the issue of water rights in the province. Transcript Simon Most of our rural gravity flow systems are functioning very well. The ones that had problems are the water systems which we have put in place at a different time in the history of our country without the people?s participation. And that?s why most of the projects failed. It was only later on when we came back to try to rehabilitate some of the failed projects that we set up water management committees and those are the ones that are now functioning well. Chindong Have you also witnessed cases of conflicts in the fields as far as water allocation and water rights are concerned? Simon There have been minor cases, a few cases I will say. I can quote the case of Jatun, where a catchment was built on a spring source that was being used by a group of families too but after this spring source was built the pipe network was built in such a way that that group of families didn?t benefit from the spring source that they had before. So now we are making plans to extend the water system to that other family that we did not consider in the first phase. Then I also say that there would have been potential conflict maybe in Sebongari. The pipe network is supposed to carry water from an intake up in the hills to a town, Sebongari town, six kilometres away. Jator village is actually on the route of the transport pipeline. If that village was not supplied a few standpipes perhaps in the future they might have had problems of having to sabotage the pipeline. Imagine a pipeline passing through the village carrying potable water and yet the village is not benefiting from that kind of a system. So to avoid this potential conflict we had to build two standpipes in the village. So we avoided conflict by satisfying a need, the water need of a small community. Chindong Have you ever had cases where the rich people take all of the water from the poor? Simon Not as far as I know because we tend to have a community spirit in the rural areas here in the north west. So you wouldn?t have a system where some people confiscate the water. What happens in most rural areas here is that they charge a special fee for anybody who wants to connect water to his house. So there is this special connection fee which leaves room for the rich to connect water to their homes and for the poor to go on drinking from the stand pipes. So they take care of the interest of the rich in that way. So there is no problem with the rich man trying to confiscate the water. The stand pipes are a way of providing water to everybody and the rich can have water in their homes. But as far as I know the community spirit is quite strong in the rural areas. Chindong Is there any other issue that you want to discuss concerning water rights and water allocation? Simon I know that in the north west we don?t have a problem with water rights yet because irrigation-agriculture is not so well developed but when irrigation-agriculture develops we may begin to get into a problem of water rights. But for now since we are using most of the water only for domestic use we don?t have any problem of water rights yet. End of tape.