By Sylvester Samba.
The SLPP led government of President Julius Maada Bio through the Ministry of Water Resources has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Geo Engineering Corporation (CGC) for the construction of the River Rokel Water Supply Facilities in the country.
The signing ceremony which took place at State House on Thursday 25th October, 2018 was witnessed by Sierra Leone’s Vice President, Chief Minister and other senior Government officials.
The Minister of Water Resources, Dr. Jonathan Tengbe lamented that his Ministry is facing complex challenges that have profound implications on water deliverables throughout the country.
Dr. Tengbe also said that every part of the district must address the rising water inequalities. The Minister estimated that a total around 2 million people are expected to benefit from the project.
“These public water challenges are complex and interlinked district by district and can only be tackled by working together at all levels, individual, local, regional and national…These challenges call for new ways of working and for policy coherence built through engaging civil society, the private sector, households and individuals”, he noted.
The Water Resources Minister further explained that the purpose of the “River Rokel Water Supply Project” is geared towards expanding the urban water supply system in Freetown and its peri-urban towns such as Masiaka, Newton, Waterloo, Devil Hole, Hastings, Jui, Freetown East 3, Freetown East 2 and Freetown East 1.
Dr. Tengbe maintained that the project will be situated in the Port Loko district close to the bank of the Rokel River around the Rokel Village, adding that the site selection is based on the year-round water availability in the Role River.
He stressed that the overall objective of the project is to maximize the volume of safe drinking water supply from its current low state of 80,000 m 3/ day produced by Guma Valley Water Company to 280.000 m3/day after the successful completion of the project.
The Minister concluded that the signing of the MoU marked the consolidation of a true partnership with the People’s Republic of China. “The timing is right…We must get hold of the opportunity to harness the momentum of water delivery to Freetown by 2022 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG 6)”, he stressed.
In his statement, the Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh said the expansion of water supply in Freetown and it immediate environs is part of President Bio’s election commitment. He also said providing safe drinking water to the people of Sierra Leone is part of the New Direction Policy.
The Vice President added that access to safe drinking water is not only a challenge in Freetown, but in other parts of the country. He maintained that he is expecting the project to respond to the needs of the people to provide safe and adequate drinking water.