By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a recent visit to the Guma Dam on August 12, 2023, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Dr. Sao Kpato Hannah Isata Max-Kyne, emphasized President Julius Maada Bio’s unwavering dedication to achieving water security for the people of Sierra Leone. The visit was conducted in collaboration with a World Bank Team currently engaged in the Update and Technical aspects of Sierra Leone’s Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) preparation.
During the visit, Dr. Max-Kye highlighted the Government’s proactive efforts to protect vulnerable water systems, mitigate the impacts of water-related hazards, ensure access to essential water services, and manage water resources in an integrated and equitable manner. The Minister also revealed that the Ministry of Water Resources has extended its portfolio to encompass sanitation functions. This expansion reflects the recognition of the critical role that safe drinking-water, sanitation, and hygiene play in enhancing human health, overall well-being, and the creation of resilient communities.
Dr. Abdu Muwonge, the World Bank Country Manager, articulated that the mission’s core objective was to engage in technical discussions with Sierra Leone’s CCDR focal points across various sectors related to climate change and sustainable landscape management. This engagement aimed to gain insights into ongoing and recent initiatives, understand sectoral priorities, and explore synergies between CCDR objectives and sectoral endeavours. Dr. Muwonge emphasized the significance of fostering a low-carbon transition and enhancing resilience while aligning with broader development goals.
The spotlight on the Guma Dam during the mission underscored its pivotal role as a natural and strategic asset for Sierra Leone. Dr. Muwonge underscored the need to treasure and sustain the dam by harnessing its potential for the nation’s future. He also drew attention to the environmental challenges posed by unplanned settlements, which encroach upon natural lands and drive the demand for non-renewable resources, leading to pollution and waste generation.
Providing insights into the importance of the Guma Dam and other water sources within the Western Area Peninsula National Park, Maada S. Kpenge, Managing Director of Guma Valley Water Company, briefed the Minister and the World Bank Mission team. Kpenge highlighted the company’s remarkable efforts in safeguarding these vital water sources and supplying clean and potable water to the residents of Freetown and the broader Western Area.
President Bio’s dedication to water security, as evidenced by the visit to the Guma Dam and the collaborative efforts with the World Bank, reinforces Sierra Leone’s commitment to sustainable water resource management and resilience-building in the face of climate change challenges.