By Salifu Conteh
Water and Sanitation Media Network Sierra Leone
Residents of the Hillsides and Hilltops communities in Freetown have registered their infuriation on the spate of water shortage and poor Electricity supply facing their respective communities of late. The aggrieved residents who have been battling with this menace condemned the undue suffering in accessing pure drinking water and frequent blackout engulfing them, heaping the blame on the ministry who for the past days has refused to explain the reasons.
Mariama Jalloh, a suckling mother resident at Ginger Hall said they been without electricity for the past months now and very close to each month, workers from the National Power Authority brings a huge bill, not to talk about the shortage of water in the community which is almost as old as most of the indigenes of that community. ‘Every year between December and the next rainy season, residents in the capital city are met by hordes of men, women and children scampering here and there every hour of the day and night in search of clean drinking water. Sometimes we had to damage other people’s water pipe in the main line or dug wells that are not hygienic in a bid to fetch water’, Mariama said.
A pregnant woman who was carrying a five gallon container of water, Rugiatu Kamara said it is incumbent on the government to reintroduce the water tankers system to supply large crowded communities, if not everyday but twice or thrice a week to ease the burden of water shortages in the communities. She said, water is very important in one’s life and it is prudent for it to be accessible to all, it inadequacy should not be treated with levity by any individual or the state as it endangers the very existence of life. She added that government should also come up with a programme of action to address the issue of water and electricity adequately before it goes out of control. ‘We can’t be suffering in silence and on monthly bases pay bills for blackout, this is unfair’ she stressed.
Sources from the corridors of the Ministry said, some of the pipes are outdated and needs to be changed even the water dam at Babadoriee do not have sufficient reserve for residents in the city, with regards the power supply, it went on of late most of the transformers do encounters problems in the different communities.
Talking to a group of community people at Sumaila Town, noted that the main thrust of water shortage is due to lack of adequate storage facilities in the country as the very Guma Dam can no longer supply the quantity of water needed and most of the pipes are worn-out pipe that damaged on a daily basis by either vehicles or the people themselves when panting for water, adding that, even Guma sometimes have the culture of not repairing some of these worn-out and damaged pipes, and a times entertained illegal connections. Citing a particular locality in the East End of Freetown, that is Kuntulor where the usual a lantern light is brighter than the electricity supply that comes after every forthnight, not to mention appliances.
This situation is seriously hitting the city and government needs to set up to salvage this menace before it is too late.
This article is produced by Water and Sanitation Media Network, Sierra Leone Chapter in partnership with West Africa WaterAid and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council .