By Abdul Malik Bangura….
The Director General of Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO), Mr. Samuel Bangura has yesterday Tuesday 9th May 2017, during an exclusive interview with this writer, confirmed that his company is rolling massive water supply projects for rural communities across Sierra Leone.
Mr. Bangura, whilst giving his details, said that the project on the installment of water supply facilities across the country is a very wonderful gesture for the rural communities. He confirmed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a US $ 5 million grant for the Rural Water Supply Project has been signed on the 8th of May 2017 between the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) and a delegation from Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund.
He outlined that SALWACO has already identified 77 villages from Tonkolili, Bombali, Moyamba, Bonthe, Kono, Port Loko and Bo districts that will benefit from this massive project. He informed that the project comprises the drilling of 100 boreholes, installation of 100 solar pumps, supply and installation of 100 elevated tanks with storage capacity of 10 cubic meters each and the supply,as well as the construction, of about 100 kilometres of waterborne pipe network,including accessories, fountain and taps in the said 77 villages .
Nevertheless, he cited some obstacles emanating from the low-cooperation of the Moyamba District Council for failing to submit the names of vulnerable villages to his company for their inclusion into the project,. Mr Bangura also pointed out that he was able to use other authentic means to get the names of the villages which he forwarded to donor partners for funding. He further confirmed that the project has been signed and he is soon rolling the implementation phase.
Furthermore, Mr. Samuel Bangura said that his main objective is to ensure that the presidency of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Korma fully achieves its Agenda for Prosperity, which the President presented to the people of Sierra Leone in 2012, as stipulated in Pillar 3.3.4, sub titled: “Improving Access to Potable Water.”
According to the Pillar; safe, reliable, affordable and accessible water supply is essential to good health. “Poor water supply causes acute infectious diarrhoea, repeat or chronic diarrhoea, and non-diarrhoeal disease; it places a large disease burden on people and the National Health Service system. With one of the highest maternal and under-5 mortality rates in the world (217), diseases related to water and sanitation (such as malaria and respiratory and diarrheal diseases) account for more than 75% of the under-five mortality,” the Agenda for Prosperity adds.
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity further adds: “The Government will focus on upgrading transmission and distribution networks nationwide. This will ensure that access to pipe borne water is significantly increased. To provide increased access to safe drinking water, particularly in rural areas, Government will rehabilitate all existing reservoirs and facilities, and restore water supply systems in district head- quarter towns.”
Against this backdrop, Samuel Bangura said he is working assiduously and ensuring that provincial water supply systems are active and sustainable. He mentioned that “SALWACO has also completed the three Water Town Projects in Makeni, Bo and Kenema.”
Also, speaking to this writer during a telephone interview, Mr Ernest Ndomaina, an indigene of Moyamba District, said “the news is indeed welcoming and important to the people of Moyamba.” He also expressed hope that the remaining project for the urban communities could be achieved within the shortest possible time. He further pointed out that “a great majority of people in the district lacks basic drinking water.”
Meanwhile, many people in Freetown confirmed that the rapid development of the country’s water sector has been a developmental news for the country and the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma who relies heavily on key sectors to deliver his legacy and agenda for prosperity.
Although the president is just a few months away from leaving power, the Rural Water Supply project has been one of his key objectives within his Agenda for Prosperity.