The Guma Valley WaterCompany, General Manager Mr Ibrahim Wilson yesterday in an interview at Angola Town where the Guma pipe was damaged by CSE on the 4th of August, said the repairs will be done soonest if the weather continues to be sunny as yesterday.
The General Manger said the heavy down pour the past few days has really hindered the progress made in changing the entire damaged pipe, “on Sunday two of our workers almost died through drowning when the heavy down pour suddenly gushed into the pit, they had to swim for safety”.
When asked about the constraints they are going through, he said the job is not an easy one as on three occasions, the damaged pipe was welded so that after the rains they will be able to change the length, – but on all three occasions, the pressure of the water caused the pipe to leak again.
Because of that he said, they decided finally to repair the whole length irrespective of the weather. He also admitted they do not have enough equipment for such a job and stressed the point that if the pipe was damaged by natural causes, then Guma would have been grounded. He praised CSE for their unflinching support to help solve the problem even though they were responsible for the damage.
Ibrahim Wilson also told journalists that the police, Fire Force, Military are all helping Guma to solve the problem. He said the problem Guma is facing is for all of us to come on board regardless of politics. He said the crisis is slowly becoming a disaster and the only way we can overcome it is by telling the truth for all to understand.
Commenting on the difference between Guma and SALWACO, he explained that SALWACO is responsible for water beyond Allen Town, whilst Guma is responsible for Freetown on to Allen Town. He said the support SALWACO receives from the government is more than what Guma is receiving.
He made a passionate appeal to the public to show understanding because they have been going through hell to repair that pipe under such weather. He told journalists that when he took the job he advised the government to change the name from Ministry of Energy and Power to Ministry of Energy and Water Resources.
The reason, he said is that the idea of the public is that the ministry’s concentration is on electricity as water was just a small component in the ministry. He noted that in most West African countries they have a whole ministry for water because they know how important water is, but for decades this country has never taken water seriously. The reason for this he said is because we have abundant rainfall.
The “Water industry is a heavy capital utility industry that should be taken very seriously in the country if we are to succeed.” He told journalists that most of the loans from World Bank have not been effective because part of the money given is going back to them through vehicles, consultancy etc. but at the end the report will always say they have spent millions of dollars and that is not true.
He called on government to take water resources very seriously and even try to create a ministry for it. “Only then, will we develop and improve the water sanity in the city.”
On the contingencies, he said they have 11 bowsers supplying water across the city, four from Fire Force, two from ONS, two from Police, two from Prisons and one from the Military. He said they are using the Congo dam at Regent for the time being until they are able to repair the Mile 13 pipe. By Austin Thomas