Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 August 2019:
Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) – the agency responsible for supplying water across sierra Leone’s capital city Freetown, has issued a warning to residents whose houses are built in the vicinity of its water transmission lines, where major rehabilitation work will soon take place, to face demolition.
The company says that “the objective of the Freetown Water Supply Rehabilitation project is to improve the living situation for the citizens of Freetown, through rehabilitation of the water infrastructure for improved public service delivery of water”.
It says that “a number of potential social impacts associated with the implementation of the project have been identified and this could include, due to any unforeseen delays, complete or partial demolition of residential structures, involuntary economic displacement of stall holders and traders along the transmission pipe”, from Mile 13 to Lumley.
A high level socio-economic survey of all affected properties, traders, business people and stall owners along the water supply network was undertaken from April 2018 through November 2018. This was followed by a detailed inventory survey from April 2019 through August 2019.
The company reports that the asset inventory and adjudication process which started in June 2019 is currently ongoing and will be completed on 31st August 2019 (for the water supply network in Freetown west area).
A baseline of all assets including livelihood resources of project affected people (PAP) has been compiled. This inventory will form an important basis of all subsequent project planning process and will determine the quantum of assets to receive resettlement assistance from the program, Guma informs the public.
“This notice serves as a declaration of the cut-off date for this exercise. The cut-off is declared as Friday, 16th August 2019 at 5pm. Persons occupying the project area after the cut-off date will not be eligible for any applicable assistance provided by the project. Similarly, fixed assets (such as built structures, etc.) established after the cut-off date, will not be included in the program.
“This cut-off date message will also be announced through a notice to be placed in the following local newspapers, Awoko (published on 16th August 2019), Premier Media (published on 16th August 2019) and Standard Times newspaper (published on 16th August 2019).
“Furthermore, posters will be placed at several strategic locations in the affected communities. A number of cut-off date meetings will be held with project affected people, community leaders and organisations in the area from 2nd July 2019 to 31st August 2019. Radio announcements will also be made between 12th to 16th August 2019. Your cooperation and participation will be invaluable to the success of the overall water delivery improvement services in your area,” says Guma Valley Water Company.
The sustained policy to fully reactivate the Guma Dam must rank as one of the toughest decisions the Bio Government has ever taken, considering all its ramifications, which include emotions of people who call the area home.
A broader and deeper look at the issue however, reveals the most evil negligence of past administration to execute proper city planning which would have prevented people from building anything in the vicinity of the Dam. Now some residents of the area must see the Bio Administration as being completely devoid of any human feelings without giving any attention to the potential benefits, which will include safe drinking water, completely without water borne diseases like cholera which continuously plague the nation.
Here,President Bio is showing real leadership.A true leader is one who makes extremely difficult decisions in the belief that the end result is desirable. Being a run-of-mill type of leader in Sierra Leone in these times, can only lead to further overall disaster and entrench us in poor human and economic development.
A fully reactivated Guma Dam should/would help us extricate ourselves from the ridiculous irony that even with the torrential rains which hit us, causing both human and property damage, we cannot provide ourselves with clean drinking water – in our homes!!! Stay the course president Bio.