The Minister of Water Resources has said in Freetown that the construction of a new dam would soon commence to boost the water supply to Freetown and its environs.
Momodu Maligie said the construction would last for about 36 six months. He was speaking during a press conference organised in collaboration with partners at the ministry’s conference room at Kingharman Road in Freetown.
“The New dam will be located along Rogberay on the river Rokel, but the process has been delayed due to the Mamamah Airport project. The funding is now ready and the construction will take about 36 months. The new dam will supply not only the city but surrounding villages and towns as well,” he said.
He said supply of safe and clean drinking water for the population was paramount, adding that his ministry was doing so much in that direction. He said the Guma Valley water dam was constructed for 500,000 people but noted that the population of the city has grown to above two million.
“This is a huge challenge, hence the need to construct a new dam. The Guma Valley dam will never be able to supply water to the Freetown populace due to its capacity. The dam was constructed in 1961, it catchment areas have been encroached upon with people constructing houses all over the place,” he said.
The minister said immediate steps have now been taken to address the problem of water and that they were doing a survey of all properties located on protected areas to ascertain their legality.
“The next step is to demolish illegal structures on catchment areas no sooner the survey is completed to ascertain their legality. The water problem is a huge challenge not only in the capital Freetown but the country as a whole. The ministry has done so much to provide water for the populace,” he said.
The minister, however, expressed concern about the control over Guma valley Water Company, which he said was being supervised by the Privatisation Commission.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Benjamin Benson Ghoyor, said that water is very much important but noted the sector has huge challenges.
“Inadequate funding to the sector is a challenge especially with government having series of priority areas. The ministry came into existence in 2013 and it is task with the management of two huge institutions. There are challenges of infrastructure, human resource and the activities around catchment areas. Encroachment is a huge challenge and this is affecting water supply,” he noted.