Guma Engages Communities on District Metering Area - Sierra Leone News

Friday, March 15, 2019

Guma Engages Communities on District Metering Area

Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) held a District Metering Area (DMA) and consultation meeting at Kingtom and Aberdeen communities in Freetown.
The public disclosure which was held on March 13 and 14, 2019, in Kingtom and the Aberdeen community, respectively, was to engage the two communities on the DMA and Kiosks pilot project. This meeting attracted stakeholders within the two communities. Guma explained the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) and Resettlement Action Plan prepared by Adams Smith International (ASI) which the communities appreciated.

The project entails: building of water kiosks and fixing of water meters in the two communities. The project is funded by Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The government is committed to meeting Sustainable Development Goals six: Ensuring access to water and Sanitation for all by 2030. MCC commissioned the threshold programme (THP) to help the country meet this goal and contracted ASI to implement part of the water programme.

In his presentation, the Measurement and Evaluation Officer of Guma, Alie Kabba said, “The project will affect 52 persons in both communities: 22 persons in Kingtom and 30 persons in Aberdeen community. In Kingtom, eight persons are affected by temporary economic displacement; four persons are affected by permanent economic displacement; 11 persons are affected by land acquisition [less than 10 % of total land area including private owners, Freetown City Council (FCC) land, and Sierra Leone Road Authority (SLRA). In Aberdeen, 20 persons are affected by temporary economic displacement; one person affected by damage of crops; four persons affected by land acquisition; and five persons affected by permanent economic displacement.” He added that they will fully compensate all affected persons with resettlement assistance and livelihood support.

Delivering a statement on behalf of the MD of Guma, the Planning and Development Manager of Guma, Ibrahim Bah admonished the community members to be open up in bringing out all the problems that they will face with the project. “This time around, we are serious, we mean business and we are ready to transform water supply in Freetown,” Manager Bah assured. “We are collaborating with a lot of partners to ensure that this transformation come to reality.”

“Our vision is that by 2023, everybody in Freetown will have 24 hours of water supply. I know that this is very difficult to achieve. But with determination and hard work, we will achieve it,” he said.

“We are going to build eight water kiosks in Kingtom.”

Manager Bah said that the programme involves three main outcomes: Water sector roadmap for the urban water and sanitation (WASH) sector; strengthening institutional capacity of Guma; and implementing pilot DMA and Kiosk projects in Aberdeen and Kingtom, adding that DMA is one of the best models in water supply regulations. “All potential damage and /or risk that could harm people, environment or assets will be appropriately controlled, reduced or eliminated where possible,” he said.

The Environment Officer of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-SL), Mr. Emmanuel During said that this is a public disclosure. “We cannot just give license to Guma to implement the DMA project without public disclosure. Guma need to come to the community to discuss what the project is about and the positive and negative impact to the community and how the community will benefit from the project before we give them license. He called on the community to asked relevant questions pertaining to the presentation.

The Water Director of Millennium Challenge Coordinating Unit (MCCU), Ansumana Swaray said that they hired Adam Smith to work with Guma for this project. He said that the government of Sierra Leone signed a Threshold Program (THP) with the U.S government, adding that the objective of the MCCU threshold program is to support effective service delivery and strengthen the financial viability of the electricity and water sectors in the country.

He said that Guma is benefiting 60 percent of this project, adding that they are trying to build the capacity of Guma in terms of how to manage their commercials and technical issues, among others.

“We have created a pilot programme to test the documents we have developed. This pilot programme is about two things: to increase community access to water; and the community to pay for the water supply. First, we will fix the water issue and then the community will pay for the services. “We are here today to disclose to you our assessment so that you will know the risk and the mitigation mechanism.”

Hon. Alusine Alu Conteh representing Constituency 125 in Kingtom said that this project is to improve water sector. He said that the water problems are many. He appreciated Guma for their effect in improving water supply more especially in his Constituency. He said that if Guma improved on the institutional network, it will make billions of Leones. He commended Guma for their move to implementing the pilot project in Kingtom.

The Officer-in-Charge of SLRA Road Infrastructure Monitoring and Protection Unit (RIMPU), Roselyn Perirel-Deigh pleaded with the community to move from the right-of-way so that Guma will be able to do their pipe connections, noting that they will be compensated.

The Councilor of Ward 443, Abdul Karim Bangura said, “We are glad for this disclosure. The disclosure is to sensitize the community about the risk and mitigating measures of the project.

Hon. Mohamed Sheriff Coker in Aberdeen said that the project is a blessing for their community and pleaded with the community to give total support for the project.

A resident of Aberdeen, William Sao Lahai called on the community to embrace the project. “We need this project because we need water in Aberdeen,” he said.

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