SIERRA LEONE, Freetown – The Acting Director of Water and Technical Services at the Guma Valley Water Company, Ibrahim C. Bah has told Awoko that Guma is working with the China Henan International Corporation Group (CHICO) and stakeholders to implement a 20-month project at Angola Town, Peninsular Area, Goderich.
According to Bah, upon completion of the project, some communities like Angola Town, Ogoo Farm, Adonkia, Lakka and Hamilton in the peninsular area will be receiving uninterrupted water supply, mentioning that the companies has done an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Angola Town Water Supply Project
“The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment is a process to mitigate or reduce the dangers on the environment through the project,” Bah said. He furthered that the Angola Water Supply project is one of the components of the Freetown WASH and Aquatic Environment Revamping Project funded by a collection of donors including the African Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Kuwaiti Fund, amongst others. He called on all present at the public disclosure to support the project and ensure that it is successfully implemented.
According to Bah, Jeffery Lamin Kargbo, Headman for Angola Town have been engaging stakeholders of the beneficiary communities about the importance of the project, adding that the communities are ready to work with Guma and its partners to ensure that the project is successful, adding that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as its statutory responsibility is to ensure that the environment is safe when embarking on development activities, will look at the findings through its EPA Board to decide on whether to grant the EIA License to the project or not.
“Some of the positive impacts of the project includes increased employment opportunities, a boom in small-scale businesses, higher sales for stone-miners, improved water supply, shorter travelling distance to the source of potable water supply, amongst others,” Bah explained.
He furthered that the ESIA studies revealed some negative impacts and these include fear of displacement and relocation, disruption of free movement due to roadblocks and digging, disruption to trading activities on the pipeline routes, disruption to motorbike riding activity, disruption to electricity and water supply from time to time during the project life cycle. “The mitigation plan which proposed the forming of a committee comprises of representatives from the aforementioned communities, Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA), Electricity and Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to monitor the construction and pipe installation activities, adding that the committee, would help to ensure that their properties or interest are safe or provided for during the project design and implementation phase,” he concluded.
Nyaveh Keili from Construction Engineering Manufacturing Management and Technical Services (CEMMaTS) explained to Awoko that the purpose of the environmental impact assessment is to identify and mitigate potential negative environmental impacts, whilst enhancing the positive ones. She said this is done through the conduct of desktop and field studies to obtain secondary and primary biophysical and socio-economic data. Keili disclosed that the assessment concluded that the project will be undertaken to build an intake wire system, raw water transmission system, treatment plant, clear water storage system, treated water transmission system and clear water distribution system that will pass through Angola Town, Adonkia, Hamilton, Ogoo Farm and Lakka communities. She furthered that they also looked at how the project will affect the air quality, soil, noise and vibration, water quality, and ecology, noting that all of these variables did not exceed the required standard limits. Keili advised the contractor to observe safety precautions at all times, concluding that the positive aspect of the project outweighs the negative ones. PSN/21/9/2022