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1.6 Million People To Benefit From Aquatic Project – Guma Deputy MD

1.6 Million People To Benefit From Aquatic Project – Guma Deputy MD

The Deputy Managing Director of Guma Valley Water Company who also doubles as Project Coordinator of the Freetown WASH and Aquatic Environment Revamping Project (WASHERP/Aquatic), Ing. Francis Lahai has disclosed that about 1.6 million people residing in the Western Area will benefit from the project on its completion.

Mr. Lahai made this disclosure on Friday 2nd October, 2020 during a presentation at the inaugural meeting of the Project Steering Committee at the Golden Tulip Hotel at Aberdeen.

The meeting which brought together stakeholders including the Project Steering Committee (PSC), the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) and the Project Implementation Committee (PIC) members was convened in order to establish long-term goals of the projects as well as to discuss the challenges that has been envisaged.

Giving a background of the project, Mr. Lahai said Freetown experienced a severe drought and water shortage in 2016 which moved DFID/UKAID to step in with the Freetown Water Supply Rehabilitation Project in 2017; however, some of the works packages in that project had to be descoped due to fact that the required funds exceeded the available funds.

The Guma DMD informed that the WASHERP/Aquatic project was born in 2018 with support from the African Development Bank and 8 other International Development Partners (Kuwait Fund, Islamic Development Bank, Adaption Fund, Green Climate Fund, Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Saudi Fund, OPEC Fund for International Development, ECOWAS Bank) to develop 10 new smaller water sources at Kaningo, Angola Town, Baoma, Mongeba, Hamilton and other communities along the Western Area Peninsular to augment the Mile 13 supply.

The WASHERP/Aquatic Project Coordinator said the overall objective of the project is to improve the water supply by 15% and sanitation services by 7% while ensuring the sustainability of the vital aquatic ecosystem in the Western Area by laying about 250km of distribution pipe works, build new storage facilities, rehabilitate about 10 existing reservoirs, Weirs and Booster station including generators.

Mr. Lahai said the project will also seek to improve solid and liquid waste collection, treatment and disposal services; provide infrastructure and enhance capacity for the effective protection of the Western Area Protected Forest/Water-shed and promote good sanitation, hygiene and child nutrition practices of the primary beneficiaries (women and girls) while facilitating their gainful participation in the improvement of WASH services.

“The interventions will enable sustainable access to safely managed water supply and improved sanitation for at least 1 million residents of Greater Freetown, including opportunities for prosperity for about 600,000 people living among communities that are vulnerable to climate shocks”, according to Mr. Lahai.

The Project Coordinator also highlighted some of the emerging challenges that the Project Steering Committee will have to work on; and these include Land Access, Encroachment, Right of Way, Resettlement of Project Affected Persons, Universal Metering, Tariffing, Loan Repayment and Disbursement of Counterpart Funding by the Government of Sierra Leone.

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