Sierra Leone may soon get $500 million Millennium Challenge Compact for water access

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 June 2019:

Technical experts are assessing Guma Valley Dam’s infrastructure that could help the country’s business case for a $500 million Millennium Challenge Compact investment, which could boost access to reliable, clean, safe drinking water in the capital Freetown.

Last Friday, 31st May 2019, Guma Valley Water Company held its first in a series of workshops at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Aberdeen to launch the Conditions Assessment of its Dam, Transmission systems and Treatment processes.

The Millennium Challenge Coordinating Unit (MCCU) on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone have hired a consulting firm COBA/Concept for a period of seven months to carry out the assessments.

Speaking at the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Coordinating Unit (MCCU), Mrs. Ndeye Koroma, explained that the work is designed to strengthen Guma’s understanding of its water system performance and to enable proper planning.

She added: ‘’The technical assistance provided by the consultant is designed not only to produce specific consulting generated assessments and maps, but also to build Guma’s capacity in each of the work areas through learning by doing, so that at the end of the assignment, Guma staff will be able to undertake these works independently going forward.’’

Acting Managing Director of Guma Valley Water Company – Francis Lahai, explained that with this assessment, Guma is trying to look at all the sources of water and the future and security of the dam.

Mr. Lahai said the dam at Mile 13 is the only large source of supply in Freetown, and that if nothing is done and then some day something bad happens, Freetown will be in a catastrophic situation.

‘’It is very important that we carry out this assessment at this stage,” he said.

Millennium Challenge Corporation Country Director – Matthew Langhenry, explained that MCC has invested $44 million in water and energy sectors under the Threshold programme which is in its final year.

He said that access to clean water is extremely important for the people of Sierra Leone, adding that this assessment is also an important component of the programme.

‘’We look forward to the day Sierra Leone passes the scorecard and be eligible for the ($500 million) Compact’’, in which MCC would be making a larger investment in Sierra Leone.

Matt Langhenry said that these assessments would ‘’make it fit as the foundation for larger investments.

DfiD Infrastructure Expert – Keith Hammond, also explained that the British government is investing $43 million through the Freetown Water Supply Rehabilitation project that is aimed at improving the integrity of the ageing Guma infrastructure.

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