By Amin Kef Sesay
On the 15 and 17 December 2019, a high-level delegation headed by the Chairman Board of Directors of Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) Honourable Mrs. Bintu Myers, and accompanied by colleagues of Board Directors namely (Ing. Mohamed B. Timbo, Mrs. Marian S. Nyuma Moijueh, Mr. Peter J. Amara, and Mr. Lyndon Baines-Johnson representing Her Worship the Mayor Yvonne Aki Sawyerr) supported by a cross section of Management of the GUMA Valley Water Company has completed a two day visit to GUMA facilities in both the Western Urban and Western Rural Districts of Freetown.
Honourable Mrs. Bintu Myers explained that the objective of the inspection tour was to acquaint the Board with the operations and challenges of the various facilities operated by the Company. The outcome of the inspection exercise would assist the Board in making informed decisions on the smooth running of the Company.
The intensive tour of the GUMA facilities and operation sites which covers the (Mile 13 Dam/Reservoir, Treatment Plant, Staff Quarters, Hydrant at Femi Turner, Hydrant at Brookfield’s, Spur Road Pumping Station, Babadori, Kongo Dam, Charlotte weir, Mongeba,Grafton Amputee Camp, Allentown and the Area Offices) etc .The Board engaged both Senior Management to junior level staff on duty with a view to fully understand the mode of operations and challenges faced by the employees. Some of the findings and the
recommendations proffered to Management included but not limited to these:
That the water level at the main Dam at Mile 13 was observed to be on the decrease,
Management and DFID through their ongoing Freetown Rehabilitation Project have made some progress in the rehabilitation of the Treatment Plant but Stages 2 and 3 of the filtration systems was noted to be malfunctioning. Also, the electro-mechanical equipment in the Plant requires maintenance, A good number of the staff quarters at Mile 13 are in a state of disrepair. A particular reference relating to the land encroachment and unauthorised occupancy of the Company’s property at Mile 13, Controls to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability of bowser operations at the Femi Turner Road Hydrant seem as weak.
That the Hydrant at Brookfields Motor Road (By the Light) been dysfunctional and requires refurbishment.
A new pumping machine was installed (through the DFID funded Project) to replace the moribund machine at Spur Road Pumping Station.
The water level at Babadori (Regent) reservoir has decreased substantially.
Encroachment of the Company’s property at Babadori by neighbouring Communities due to incomplete fencing. The Angelique Project at Babadori was at a standstill.
Three stationary bowsers within the premises at Babadori. The water level at Kongo Dam has decreased considerably partly due to evaporation and leakages at the Dam.
Dislocated and deliberate puncturing of transmission pipes from the Charlotte to the Allen Town Reservoir by intruders and this situation is partly responsible for the low pressure of water to the Allen Town Reservoir. It was further noted that the weir usually dried up completely between March to April.
A good number of the pipes supplying water from the weir to the bowser collection point at Mongeba have been burned by rogues within the Community. It was further noted that the Project was at a standstill. Originally it was a Project intended to supply water from the weir to the collection point by gravity.
The facility which consists of 4 boreholes and an electro-mechanical unit at Grafton Amputee Camp was at a standstill partly due to the drying out of the boreholes. The facility appeared to have been abandoned. The facility was designed to complement the Charlotte weir particularly during the dries. High fuel consumption of the unit was also noted as a challenge.
The Allen Town Reservoir was empty due to non-flow of water from the Charlotte weir and the Grafton Amputee Camp.
Incomplete fencing of Area East Office and delays in the repairs of vehicles at the Garage Two unauthorised connections at the newly installed distribution main at Spur Road. Management was asked to investigate the matter.
Two culprits arrested and handed over to the Lumley Police Station for unauthorised tampering of distribution mains.
A septic tank construction closer to the transmission mains along the SLRA access road at Mile 13. In a bid in promoting effective service delivery to the people and complementing government’s effort, the Board came out with key recommendation for Management to develop a concept paper and related planned design construction to capture and retain the spillage from the Mile 13 Dam during the raining season.
Management to hold discussion with the DFID Contractor, BAM for the rehabilitation of the stages 2 and 3 filtration system at the Treatment Plant. Management to put modalities in place for the repairs and regular maintenance of Staff Quarters at Mile 13, and addressing the unauthorized occupancy of Guma’s properties and encroachment.
Management to take prompt action to rehabilitate the Brookfields Motor Road Hydrants and to institute strong internal controls geared towards ensuring efficiency, transparency and accountability of the Bowser operations.
Management to look at the possibility of constructing a new reservoir at Babadori with funding from the Aquatic Project. Management to take prompt action to complete the perimeter fencing at Babadori. Management to follow-up with the Ministry of Water Resources on the Angelique Project.
Management to execute essential repairs to the Kongo Dam and follow-up on the initiative /plan for a bigger reservoir downstream at the Kongo Dam.
Management to breakdown some of the boulders to create more access and build up the catchment at the Charlotte weir and also to replace the damaged pipes in the network. Management to engage the local community and address the problems affecting the sustainability of the supply at Mongeba.
Management to follow-up on the study to restore the Grafton Amputee Camp facility done by some consultants. Management to put in place modalities for the urgent fencing of Area East Office.
The Chairman of the Board, Hon. Mrs. Bintu Myers said the Board is striving to build a productive, effective and efficient GUMA in months and years to come, whilst in office under the New Direction Government.