The Acting General Manager of Guma Valley Water company Bankole Mansaray has lambasted Government Ministries housed in the youyi building at Brookfields Freetown that for quiet some time now they have not pay their water rates.
Citing instances of those private residents and public offices that have not been paying charges for water consumed, the Acting G M pointed out that they charge a minimal fees of 350 cent per gallon of water but both Government Ministries and other private residents could not pay. He explained that they had earlier begun disconnection of those Ministries but the timely intervention of the Minister of Energy and Power made them reverse their decision, noting that if they fail to pay ‘they must not be surprised if we disconnect them as it is our only weapon we use against defaulters.’
Touching on some of the challenges facing them, the GM mentioned illegal connections, cutting of pipes, wastages, non payment of bills, encroachment of water catchment areas among others, adding that 40% of the water is wasted as a result of illegal connections.
He said they provide 80 million liters of water per day instead of the 120 which is demanded to service everybody in Freetown noting that they still need 40 million litres of water to meet the required need of the people of Freetown.
However the Minister of Information and Communications I.B. Kargbo responded that the matter regarding the non- payment of bill by some Government Ministries was not a deliberate one as the method of payment is too cumbersome and besides the Ministries are sometimes faced with problem of accessing their budget allocations.
On the new strategy towards the effective management of water he stated that they are striving very hard to maintain an equitable distribution of water supply in Freetown by improving on the already existing dams. He said Guma alone can not handle the problem facing his company as they need all stake holders onboard including the general public and communities to manage the water supply facilities especially the stand post pipe where 60% of the public fetch water from. The chairman board of directors of Guma Valley Water Company Dr. Nanah Pratt recalled that prior to her appointment as chairman of Guma she was deprived of pipe borne water for nearly 2 years but had to threaten Guma with court action before turning attention to her.
She maintained that Guma is run at a very exorbitant rate as they import Chlorine from abroad for Le 90 million with no tax concession or waiver at customs. “We pay all our custom duties and will therefore make sure that anyone using the Guma water to pay for it” she said.
She concluded that climate change is real as we now experience little rain fall but said we need to intensify action to mitigate its negative effect. According to survey report by a lecturer of Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Dr. Ernest Domahina , there is a great discrepancy in water distribution between the eastern and central part of Freetown, adding that while central Freetown enjoys 89% of water supply the eastern part only receive 42% water supply. He touched on environmental activities and resettlement issues which he said are been investigated and will come up with salient recommendations.
By Solomon Rogers