August 16, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
About 50,000 people living in Upper George Brook, Dworzark Farm, West of Freetown, rely on a single dam as their only source of water for drinking.
The community has complained several times about the unhygienic state of the dam, which they say is in a dilapidated state, with filth and dirt surrounding it.
The said dam was built in an isolated place and is now filled with algae and empty mega-cola rubber bottles, thus posing serious health risk to thousands of residents.
Some residents of Dworzark have blamed the authorities for the poor condition of the dam. They complained that the facility has remained close since the start of the rainy season, and that no effort has been made by the authorities to clean the environment.
“The water currently coming from that dam is contaminated and poisonous. Some days ago I bathed my children with it and they complained of general body irritation. Also, a neighbour who recently drank water from the dam is experiencing frequent bowel movements,” says Judith Mansaray.
On her part, Salamatu Conteh, expressed fear of a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases if urgent action was not taken by the authorities.
“People in the community should be properly sensitised about the risks because even when the dam is closed right now they source water from it through a leakage point. The water has to be purified before using, otherwise it will result to diarrhea,” she said.
Abdulai Sheriff described the facility as “highly contaminated”, adding that it was neither good for drinking nor bathing.
He suggested that the entire water contained in the dam be drained so that the dam would be properly cleaned before re-opening to the public.
Caretaker at the dam, Santigie Sesay, said he had requested residents to pay Le20,000 per household for the rehabilitation of pipes and the facility, threatening to cut supply if they fail to pay.
He stated that pipes leading to homes were in bad shape and needed repairs. Asked whether the local councilor was aware, he said the dam is not under the control of the councilor.
When contacted, Councilor Sheki Bangura said he was in support of the action of the caretaker.
“I have visited the dam and seen the problem myself, but people are not co-operating with the caretaker. None of them want to open up; they seem to be very reluctant. I can assure you that we will stop at nothing at making sure that we get things done if they comply with the caretaker,” he said.