BY Mustapha Sesay
The current status of the water service delivery in the city of Freetown will become acute if urgent measures are not put in place to halt the massive encroachment of land in the catchment areas.
A team from the Civil Society Advocacy Network on Climate Change, the Deputy Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Staff of Guma Valley Water Company, SLAWACO, Staff of the Forestry Division, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Media made a visit on Thursday, 13th March, 2014 to dams and treatment sites.
The visit to the Guma Valley Water Company, Tacugama reservour and the Babadorie sites was to get firsthand information on the environmental hazards plaguing our catchment areas.
It must be noted that the ecosystem and the biodiversity in the Freetown Peninsular are vanishing at an alarming rate. This is mainly due to the uncontrolled and uncoordinated human activities in the Peninsular. Such activities include the use of the power saw machines for the cutting of trees and other vegetation around the demarcated forest reserves. the burning of wood for charcoal, construction of dwelling places, illegal sale of land, and mining construction at quarries by multi national companies.
The ability of the water agencies to continue supplying water is seriously undermined as a result of the exposure of the water dam to direct sunlight; this in return is a serious threat to the supply of water to the growing population in the city and its environs.
At the Guma Valley catchment and Babadorie reservoir it was alarming to note that a massive construction of dwellings is ongoing and not only on state land and this exposes the pipes to adverse conditions. The Babadorie Reservoir is far below the water level as the Sugar Loaf Water Reserve is dried up and cannot supply water to the dam.
At Tacugama , it was also note that the water level cannot serve the majority of the populace if steps are not taken to remedy the situation.
Addressing the delegation, the Guma Valley Boss Mr. Bankole Mansaray extended his gratitude for embarking on a campaign to create awareness on the destruction caused by human activities to the Freetown Peninsular with the view that policymakers and communities take the required steps to halt the envirommental hazards.
The Head of the Environmental Protection Agency Madam Jatou Jallow stressed that water is life and a natural gift. It should be protected at all times and our duty is to raise the awareness to stop the encroachment on the catchment areas and ensure that pure water is available to Sierra Leoneans. She further recommended for very tough action to be taken against all those erection structures on the water catchment sites.
If Freetown is to address the issue of water scarcity, it is now time to protect and preserve our water catchment areas, construct new dams and embark on massive awareness campaign on the effects of man’s activities un the environment,