By: Thaimu Bai Sesay

Guma Valley Water Company can turn the whole of Freetown to a city of safe and affordable water. But why many communities in the capital are still experiencing the brunt of water scarcity every day. That must be the question people should ask.

 Well, recent investigations have proven that Guma Valley Water Company can adequately supply safe water to the entire Freetown if only certain challenges are addressed. These concerns range right from the Guma Dam to the Distribution center and other agencies involved.

The Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) was established in 1961 with the primary objective of providing water to the greater Freetown. The main source of water for the company is the Guma Dam, a natural resource situated in the forest reserve area, 31 miles off the capital city. It is estimated that the Dam was initially established to cater for one thousand six hundred (1,600) people in Freetown. And this is one of the reasons this research has found as to why the company is struggling to provide water to every nook and cranny of Freetown.

An interview with the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the company is struggling to provide water to the whole of Freetown due to the excessive rural urban migration. The growing population of Freetown is highly un-catered for.  Urban sprawl which is the rapid expansion of the geographic extent of towns in Freetown is being considered as one of the major causes that have made the company floundering to supply the present Freetown population.

The rapid rural urban migration which is the movement of more people from the rural to urban is causing pressure on services and demand for more materials. Hence there is need for extension or recreation of the Dam as suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency.

One of the major challenges that hinder the adequate supply of water is the uncontrollable waste of water.

There is a greater amount of water that spills or wastes right from the Dam to the street pipes. It is speculated that if the amount of water that spills or wastes is properly managed, the entire Freetown will never run out of water. The spillage from the Dam occurs mostly in the rainy session due to excessive flow of water into the Dam. “The capacity of the dam is 1.950 cubic meter and that is above the sea level. In the rainy season, the level of the water increases above the normal capacity of the dam, resulting into spillage,” says the inspector of works.

The spillage or waste of water occurs not only in the Dam but to the street pipes also. It is obvious that you have also witnessed where a street pipe continuously wastes water. Seeing those pipes continuously spilling water in the street is one of the ironic situation that irks most people, especially those who undergo the brunt of water scarcity.

 “It is a big loss to our part as we don’t account for the pipes that spill water in the streets it is difficult to eradicate it entirely but we have been working harder to mitigate it”, head of distribution stated.

The safety of the water is also another great concern. How safe is the water Guma Valley Water Company supplies? The Guma water passes through a whole lot of purification processes before it finally gets distributed. It is well treated and is very safe for human consumption.

“The water that gets to your homes is above 85% safe and it is pure more than those”, says Head of Treatment Center. It involves almost all the major methods of purifying water.

 In the Dam, there is a long building called treatment center. The original water is transmitted from the Dam to the treatment center through funnels. Before releasing the water for consumption, it has to go through a process of sedimentation, sterilization, filtration and chlorination. There are other chemicals and process added to make the water entirely free from diseases. However, it is also understood that some of the main pipes used in the distribution of water are getting rust due to the chemicals used in the water and if continue to be used, it will affect the safety of the water in the long run. This also calls for renovation of some of the equipment use in the treatment center as they are very old.

A significant challenge that also needs great attention is the reservoirs. The reservoirs are artificial placeholders of water. They are connected to the main Dam where they get supply of water from. They help the main Dam for effective and efficient supply of water to the city. However, majority of the reservoirs easily dry up during the rainy session and that makes it more difficult for people to secure water in the dry season.

 “There are reservoirs across the city. These reservoirs are connected to the main dam where they get supply of water except for the one at Regent which is independent. All of the reservoirs are working effectively except for the one at Dan Street which is not working at the moment,” says Head of Distribution.

This investigative piece has come to a conclusion that Guma Valley Water Company can adequately supply safe water to the entirety of Freetown if the issues presented above are resolved. The extension or recreation of the Dam if possible the establishment of an alternative Dam is of greater significant in order to manage the spillage from the Dam.

 The distribution center needs to be on its toes and strategies how it could properly respond to the issue of pipes wasting water in the street implemented.

To maintain the quality of the water and prevent distribution lines from future problems, there is also a dare need to refurbish or change some of the old equipment used in the treatment center. As the population of Freetown will never to stop to increase, it is significant to create more reservoirs and renovate those that are not working.

 With this, the supply of water from Guma Valley Water Company can reach every community and Freetown will eventually turn to a city where residents have access to safe and affordable water.


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