By Abdul Malik Bangura
Director General of Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO), Mr. Samuel Bangura
Director General of Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO), Mr. Samuel Bangura has yesterday Tuesday 9th May 2017, during an exclusive interview with this writer confirmed that his company is rolling massive water supply projects for rural communities across Sierra Leone.
Mr. Bangura, whilst giving his details said that the project on the installment of water supply facilities across the country is a very wonderful gesture for the rural communities. He confirmed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for US $ 5 million grant for Rural Water Supply Project has been signed on Monday 8th May 2017, between the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) and delegation from Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund.
He said, SALWACO has already identified 77 villages that will benefit from the following districts including Tonkolili, Bombali, Moyamba, Bonthe, Kono, Port Loko and Bo. He informed that the project comprises the drilling of 100 boreholes, installation of 100 solar pumps, supply and installation of 100 elevated tanks with storage capacity of 10 cubic meters each and the supply as well as the construction of about 100 kilometer of pipe network in 77 villages including accessories, fountain and taps.
Although, however, he cited hindrance from the low cooperation of the Moyamba District Council in sending names of villages to his company so that they could be drafted into the project, but he said, he was able to use other authentic means to get the names of the villages, and at the end send them to donor partners for funding. He said, the project has been signed, and he is soon rolling the implementation phase.
Furthermore, Mr. Samuel Bangura said that his main aim is to ensure that the Presidency of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Korma fully achieves his Agenda for Prosperity, which the President presented to the people of Sierra Leone in 2012, especially as stipulated in Pillar 3.3.4, sub titled “Improving Access to Potable Water.”
According to the Pillar; Safe, reliable, affordable and accessible water supply is essential to good health. “Poor water supply causes acute infectious diarrhoea, repeat or chronic diarrhoea, and non-diarrhoeal disease; it places a large disease burden on people and the National Health Service system. With one of the highest maternal and under-5 mortality rates in the world (217), diseases related to water and sanitation (such as malaria and respiratory and diarrheal diseases) account for more than 75% of the under-five mortality,” the Agenda for Prosperity adds.
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity further adds: “The Government will focus on upgrading transmission and distribution networks nationwide. This will ensure that access to pipe borne water is significantly increased. To provide increased access to safe drinking water, particularly in rural areas, Government will rehabilitate all existing reservoirs and facilities, and restore water supply systems in district head-quarter towns.”
Against this backdrop, Samuel Bangura said he is working assiduously towards ensuring that provincial water supply systems are active and rolling. He mentioned “SALWACO has also completed the three Water Town Projects in Makeni, Bo and Kenema.”
Also, speaking to this writer during a phone call interview, Ernest Ndomaina, an indigene of Moyamba District, said “the news is indeed welcoming to the people of Moyamba.” He also expressed hope that the remaining project for the urban communities could be achieved within the shortest possible time, as he said a majority of people in Moyamba District lack basic drinking water.”
Meanwhile, many who spoke to this writer here in Freetown, said the developments so far in the water sector of the country is welcome news especially at this time when President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is few months off from power, and he relies heavily on key sectors to deliver on his legacies. Rural Water Supply is one of the President’s key legacies particularly in his Agenda for Prosperity.