World Water Day 2014: Cameroon water crisis still an enigma
March 20, 2014

Cameron is endowed with lots of water, but there is not enough water to satisfy the needs of up to 10% of its populations. Lots much of the water is too heavily polluted to be of much use to living organisms. Under such circumstances the nationís water problems can hardly be resolved by the year 2035.

Christopher Forgwe reports

If there is one truism that Cameroonians cite with an indomitable degree of conviction, it is one that states that "water is life". It could not be otherwise. After all, life scientists tell us that water is indeed the major constituent of living matter. All organisms contain it, some live in it, some drink it. From 50 to 90 per cent of the weight of living organism is water.

Blood in animals and sap in plants consist largely of water and serve to transport and remove waste materials. Water also plays a key role in the process of breaking down such basic vital element as proteins and carbohydrates, a process which goes on continuously in living cells. Plants and animals however require water that is moderately pure, and they cannot survive ad heavily polluted water.

Pollution in the general sense of the term is about the contamination of the earth's environment with materials that interfere with human health, the quality of life, or the natural functioning of organisms and their physical surroundings.

In Cameroon as elsewhere, the demand for potable water rises continuously as the nationís population grows. But judging by what has prevailed with the past 53 years, the Cameroon government and the municipal authorities have not proved equal to the task of adequately satisfying the water needs of up to one tenth of our municipal populations, let alone those of the marginalized rural majority of Cameroonians from among whom the more rigorous of our youthful population have drifted away to the sprawling shanty towns expecting to find better living conditions for themselves and their families. But ironically it is precisely in the big towns like Douala, Yaounde, Garoua, Bamenda, that new arrivals from villages are dumbfounded by the shortage or outright lack of the water necessary for their basic needs.

Even so, Cameroonians are being urged to not only proclaim, but to actually believe religiously that we shall "emerge" by the year 2035.But this declaration sounds a little hollow to those skeptics and political pundits who insist that they would not be convinced unless there is a proof in the form of a convincing roadmap characterized by plausible benchmarks, indicators and deadlines pointing irrefutably to that prospect of emergence by the year 2035. Anything short of that will render the declaration simple and unalloyed demagogy.