April 29, 2020
By SALWACO Communications Unit
Despite the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic of which Sierra Leone has now recorded over one hundred confirmed cases, Management of the Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) continues to reach out by providing water for communities outside Freetown.
In a bid to compliment the effort of government in effective service delivery, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa and the Managing Director of SALWACO, Joseph Munda Sandi,paid an unannounced visit to the SALWACO water treatment plant in Bo City, Kailahun town, Kenema City and Moyamba respectively.
The visit was to have an insight into SALWACO’s operations and water production activities in cities and towns outside Freetown.
The Management of SALWACO, since the start of this year, continues to make visitation to various treatment plants across the country and communities that still face challenges in access to safe drinking water.
Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio, at the start of this year, declared the year 2020 as a year of delivery. All Ministries, Departments and Agencies were tasked to put together a clear plan of action in line with the government’s development agenda.
SALWACO on its part had tasked itself to providing access to clean, affordable and safe drinking water for rural communities in line with its set mandate.
The unannounced visit to the Bo treatment plant was also key in the sense that the Minister of Finance had first-hand information about progress made so far and the challenges in providing water for cities outside Freetown.
On their arrival at the Bo water treatment plant, the Minister was given a conducted tour to the facility by the Bo Station Manager, Lansana Ba Sawi and he was impressed, seeing for the very first time the treatment plant and the quantum of work that is done at the site.
He praised the SALWACO management team especially the Minister of Water Resources and the Managing Director.
“As we continue to fight the Coronavirus, water is key in this direction and there is no way we could fight the virus if we do not provide water for our people. It is water that is used frequently for the prescribed hand washing but also for domestic purposes. If we are to win this war against coronavirus, water must be provided always. Let us make sure we sustain this gain even after the corona virus and make sure that water is always available for our people,” Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa noted.
The Minister acknowledged the difficulties in providing water for the rural poor communities looking at what was needed in terms of finances, logistics and man power.
He thanked the team for the display of professionalism and commitment which is a manifestation of the SALWACO leadership.
The Minister’s visit was not unconnected with the important role water plays in the fight against COVID 19, but was also a show of the president’s commitment in providing pipe borne water to cities across Sierra Leone.
In his part, the Bo Station Manager for SALWACO, Ing. Lansana Ba Sawi stated one of the major problems faced by most of the SALWACO ‘s stations is energy, adding that water cannot be distributed without energy and therefore called on the Minister of Finance to help them to get enough energy supply.
In his response, the Minister of Finance immediately made a phone call to the Minister of Energy to support SALWACO with their work especially in the area of providing effective energy.
The SALWACO Managing Director, Joseph Munda Sandi, in his brief statement thanked the Minister of Finance for this visit.
He said the Minister will have no doubt in disbursing funds to the Water Sector especially SALWACO.
“We have set ourselves in line with this year’s declaration as the year of delivery. The provision of clean drinking water takes away water borne disease from communities; help reduce teenage pregnancy, keep girls in school and keep our communities healthy. We will continue in this direction,” Sandi said.
From Bo, the team also visited Kailahun Water Treatment Plant, where they were taken a conducted tour of the facility by the Station Manager, Braima Allieu and Ing. Abu Bakarr Kebbie.
Giving a highlight of the challenges and successes, the Kailahun Station Engineer, Ing. Abu Bakarr Kebbie stated that the service Reservoir was too small to hold enough water to supply the township.
He also made mention of the faulty pump at the intake and the network too was not wide enough to cover the whole town especially with the expansion of the town.
Few other challenges the station faced were lack of office space and means of movement-vehicle
The managing director intimated the group that the Six Towns Water Project included Kailahun plant for optimization. This, he said, will solve most of the present problems.
He concluded that the Six Towns Water Supply Project that will be launched this year includes Kailahun, Pujehun, Moyamba in the South East and Kambia, Kabala and Magburaka in the North. The project will provide 24hrs uninterrupted pipe borne water supply to these cities.
From Kailahun, the team also visited Kenema where he was given a conducted tour of the facility by the Station Manager, John Augustine Forewa and team for the Minister to see the water treatment plant in tilorma, Kenema district.
Also, the team proceeded to Moyamba to see the treatment plant.
The Minister will also visit the north and north west region to see SALWACO’s facilities in the next couple of weeks.