This was according to Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) Managing Director, Bankie Mansaray. He was speaking at a recent Institutional Strengthening Program, organized by the GVWC which attracted participants from the water sector and other stakeholders to discuss economic regulations. The event took place at Sierra Light House Hotel, Aberdeen.
According to the GVWC Managing Director, Bankie Mansaray the seminar is just another activity on the Water Sector Reform Project under the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) Threshold Programme. He added that it was organized by the GVWC with technical assistance from Adam Smith International (ASI). He went on to state that the Institutional Strengthening activity is aimed at strengthening the Guma Valley Water Company’s capacity to perform its core business functions and comply with emerging regulatory requirements developed under the Regulatory Strengthening Project.
He informed his audience that the water supply situation in Freetown has proved to be very challenging over the last two decades. “In fact, a greater concern has been the absence of a sector policy that provides guidelines on the management of such a vital resource and the institution set up for efficient water resource management is also a major concern,” he said.
He added that in the last decade there has been considerable effort by government to address the policy, but that operational and institutional bottlenecks in the sector are hampering progress.
He maintained that access to water in Freetown still poses a serious challenge while some areas have not seen pipe borne water for ages with some other areas going for months without pure drinking water.
He stated that the problem is further compounded by consumers who refuse to pay for GVWC, believing that water is a free gift which they must not pay for.
He reminded his audience that in 2010, “the National Water and Sanitation Policy was developed, clearly identifying the challenges and the path to address current and emerging issues in the sector.”
He added however that “unfortunately, in spite of all the great ideas and high expectations, the successful implementation of this policy was restricted by the provisions of the existing legislations in the sector.” According to him, it is a fact that people want more access to water and therefore the GVWC is working on a very large programme in a number of areas.