The General Manager of the Guma Valley Water Company Ibrahim Wilson has said in Freetown that the Guma pipe, which runs from the Mile 13 Dam to the city, is at serious risk of breaking due to erosion along the line.
Mr Wilson who was speaking to journalists Monday said they have identified 25 points along the line that might break open at any time.
Questioned about what measures are being put in place to avert such problems, the manager said since those pipes were laid in the sixties, they have never been changed or replaced, because the previous governments have never taken the issue of water resources seriously.
He lamented that to get spare parts now for the valves along the line is virtually impossible, noting “when we put in order for those valves in England, we were laughed at because the company has stopped manufacturing those types of valves long ago. The quotation we got for one valve was $100,000.”
The manager said everybody needs to take water problems seriously as it is capital intensive. He said they are trying now to see how best they can work to avert such major problems in the future, “but the terrain and the materials are really affecting our work.”
He made it clear that the entire line is due for change now otherwise they will continue to have problems of acquiring spare parts.
Responding to the wastage, Mr. Wilson said about 60 percent of the water supplied daily is wasted because the transmission pipes are damaged regularly due to the quality of the pipes.
He said they are going to do a massive overhauling by “changing those spaghetti plastic pipes” and will now run smaller mains along the streets so that houses will connect easily. “If majority of the water is being utilised by the consumers, we will raise more funds to run the company” he said.
Deliberating on the “spaghetti pipes” – which is actually referring to the plastic blue pipes used to connect water to houses, – he said they should not have been used in this country because of the climatic conditions and durability. He made the point that since people started using those pipes the wastage of water tripled in the city because they are easily broken and can be tampered with by people.
“So we are going to use the metal pipes once more, which are durable and cannot be broken by people” he said. Mr Wilson went on to disclose that “Presently, due to the expansion of the city, after mathematically working out the availability and the demand, we have decided to reduce the daily supply from 19 million gallons to 16.5 million gallons so we will be able to supply water throughout the year.” He appealed to all to see reason to help Guma in solving this chronic problem and for the populace to pay their water rates regularly because they are cash trapped. “To pay salaries, sometimes we have to ask for overdraft from the banks to help us” he maintained. As the weather conditions improve, it is likely that the repairs of the Angolan Town pipe crisis would soon be over.