April 14, 2021
By Jariatu S. Jusu
The Acting Board Chairman of the Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) has urged government to provide enough funding support to the projects undertaken by SALWACO in order for them to attain sustainability and efficiency in supplying water to all households in the provinces.
Delivering his keynote address at a press conference organised yesterday at SALWACO’s head office in Freetown,Ing. Badamasi Savage commended the Managing Director of SALWACO and team for a job well done in making sure that people in the provinces access pure and safe drinking water.
He said when technical issues are discussed in the water sector, the issue of sustainability and efficiency is always key and that as a board, they were now having lesser problem but noted that they will continue their effort to engaging government to provide all the support needed for the company to strive well.
He said the issue of tariff is very crucial and that they were finding it difficult to increase it due to the country’s current economic situation, hence the need for government to provide more funding to SALWACO to enhance sustainable and efficient water supply.
He suggested that the provision of more solar powered boreholes could be a possible way government can help SALWACO, stating that the company was spending much more on fuel to supply water due to the technology that is being used.
He said the solar structures would be of help to the institution and emphasised that government should provide them so that the company can be efficient in its operations.
He noted the need to capacitate workers of the company for them not to hire consultancy service outside and waste money.
Managing Director of the company, Ing. George Lamin Vandi, said before the establishment of SALWACO, water supply had been in existence since colonial days.
He said the SALWACO Act was created to provide quality water and sanitation services in a cost-effective, environmentally sustainable and customer-friendly manner.
He said the SALWACO Act of 2017 mandated the company to extend the supply of water and sanitation services to four regions of the country (North, North -West, East and South),adding that the company has been doing good work across the country.
He said the company currently provides pipe borne water supply services to provincial towns including Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Lungi, Kambia, Lunsar, Magburaka, Mile 91 & Yonibana, Port Loko, Kabala, Pujehun, Kailahun among others.
He said the demand for water in communities across the country has increased and that they have tried to re-engineer the company and re-align the staffing system to match with the current demands.
He said the company in the last three years has spent $80.14m to improve the water sector across the country through it various water projects.
He cited poor road network as one of the challenges they are faced with, coupled with human activities carried out in the water facilities especially the mining activities undertaken in the Sewa River.
He said they have been engaging other partners to see how the issues could be addressed.
He said the tariff per littre of water is far less than the cost of production, adding that they spent Le15, 000 to produce one cubic litre of water from the treatment plant plus maintenance and all other costs, while the tariff people pay for a littre of water is Le5,713.
He emphasised the need to increase the tariff to enable them cover production and other cost.