The Minister of Energy and Water Resources Prof. Ogunlade Davidson has explained in clear terms the enormous strides his Ministry has mapped out to bring to an end the shortage and scarcity of water in the rural and urban areas of Sierra Leone.
The Ministry’s plans were yesterday highlighted in a short Press Briefing at the Board Room, 4th Floor of the Electricity House in Freetown.
Prof. Davidson stated during a policy presentation that in this year of the President’s agenda for implementation, his Ministry is poised to undertake a series of ground breaking activities to ensure the provision of sustainable safe drinking water supply and sanitation in both rural and urban areas.
He mentioned that out of 100% of the provincial populace only 32% have access to safe drinking water followed by a 50% urban population that has access to proper drinking water.
According to the Minister the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources under its Water and Sanitation Projects from 2008 to 2012 has developed a broad framework for water resource management, and ensuring stakeholders’ participation in water resources management and planning, construction, ownership and maintenance of community-based domestic water supply schemes in rural areas.
The Minister noted that the present ongoing activities undertaken by the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources towards improving water accessibility in Freetown is among plans to increase the number of public stand posts, introduction of sub-mains and provision of chemicals to increase the level of purification of domestic water.
He added that there are also other projects being undertaken by the Indian Government, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Power and Water project facilitated by IDA and the Government of Sierra Leone to enhance water accessibility in the Western Urban Area.
In a bid to equally alleviate the problem of water supply in the rural areas, the Minister said that a survey of all Degremont stations are being undertaken with support from JICA to survey 37 to 42 possible stations in the provinces. He also stated that JICA has completed the Rokuprr Station and is set to start in Kambia as well.
For the rehabilitation of provincial stations, the Minister revealed that the African Development Bank (ADB) is to fund the Bo, Kenema and Makeni stations, with the Government funding Lungi, Mile 91 and Pujehun, with an existing programme already in Kono. The Indian Government is also supporting Kailahun and Lungi projects he said.
Prof. Davidson said that the Ministry has also put in place regulatory frameworks and reforms such as the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission and Power Sector Reform and other Departments, and divisions created by the Ministry all geared towards enabling adequate water provision and maintenance of water related issues.
He said that there are other short, medium and long term strategies to improve access to water in the Western Area, Provincial Headquarter Towns, large settlements, and demarcation and protection of water catchments.
He reiterated that Sierra Leone is not short of water or has water problem, but it is the inability of citizens to properly manage the available water and its sources. He considered the service of safe drinking water as a basic human rights which everybody is entitled to, and as such his Ministry is prepared to render that service.
By Poindexter Sama