Rural Water Supply (Energy and Power)
Access to good, safe and reliable drinking water and Sanitation facilities, coupled with sound environmental cleanliness, is essential to the improvement of the health of the people and the overall socio-economic development of the district. Rural Water Supply system can bring improvement to rural infrastructure, the Local economy and public health safety. The availability of potable drinking water and improved sanitation and environmental health is crucial to the development of the district such that for the Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) development programme introduced in council, priority was the “Provision of Potable drinking Water to the Moyamba Community.” Some private water wells in Sierra Leone and Moyamba District Council in particular provide safe water for home uses. The natural chemical quality of the ground water varies from region to region because of the influence of the local soils and rocks through which water moves and is stored. In some areas, there is concern about contamination in rural wells. Landfills, mine wastes and industrial waters may also threaten rural ground water quality.
Moyamba District Council, in common with the rest of Sierra Leone, experiences a wet semi equatorial climate with two seasons, the rainy season which starts in May and ends in October and the dry season which starts in November and ends in April.
- The Taia, Yambatui, Kurgbortui and Gbangba rivers serve as the main rivers within the District. The Kurgbortui has gravity fall, and Gbangba has proposed dammed construction.
- The Yambatui and Taia rivers once have functional pipe borne water Supply facilities serving the towns of Moyamba, Taiama and Mano town
Water from these rivers is also used for fishing, mining and of course for domestic use. However, the district just like other districts in Sierra Leone is suffering from wide range of economic and social problems, particularly access and use of sustainable drinking water as shown below:
Financing of Potable Water
Financing of Potable drinking water is a new phenomenon in the district. The Communities did not usually pay any money towards the provision of potable drinking water. Wells usually provided by the donors are handed over to the Communities to operate, manage and maintain them. The Communities are expected to bear 100% cost of operation and maintenance but such condition is not operating since the department has been devolved to Council. To ensure sustainability of these facilities, beneficiary communities form Management Committees called the water and sanitation (WATSAN) Committee, but they are not really functional. CARE in the past had already trained these committees. The committees are expected to undertake activities such as mobilization and management, facilitating community meetings and communal labour, embarking on routine and preventive maintenance. This is to promote cost-sharing approach to portable water acquisition by communities. The expected 10% cash contribution beneficiary communities are supposed to pay towards the capital cost has not yielded the desired result.
If and when the programme becomes functional monies collected at the end of the month and those from the pay-as-you fetch system will be used to maintain these facilities. Trained Pump Attendants would undertake minor repairs on the facility and assist the technicians in repairing the facility when it breaks down.
Problems and Constraints
Other problems in addition to accessibility been identified as water related problems/constraints facing both rural and urban communities in the district includes.
- In – adequate portable drinking water facilities in all communities
- Irregular supply of water. Wells dry up during the dry season (Nov-April)
- Open wells are exposed to health hazards
- Frequent breakdown of facilities
- Long duration before a broken down pipe is repaired
- Streams dry up during the dry season leading to acute water shortages
- Poor water quality, since streams are unclean and dirty
- Overcrowding and long queues at water wells, since facilities are inadequate
- Communities are not able to properly maintain facilities, and reluctant to pay for water they use.
Household Energy Consumption
The types of energy and household access to alternative energy affect the type of domestic and economic activities that are undertaken by households and district, respectively. The energy policy under the PRSP aims at increasing production through the following increasing targeted power to the poor and ensuring the maximum use of energy made available to the poor.
Sources of Energy
Both rural and urban residents mostly get their energy from within the community; other sources are market, farm, filling station (for kerosene) and individual generated electricity. The urban residents mostly access their energy from electricity and the market places whilst the rural residents mostly access their energy from the farm bush.
Energy Problems and Constraints
Over dependence on natural energy supply is degenerating existing vegetation. High cost of running generator sets.
Most of the villages within Moyamba District Council lack Sanitation facilities (Toilets). In View of this, stakeholders agreed to establish these facilities especially latrines using the Community Total Led Sanitation Methodology (CLTS).
This Methodology can achieved the reduction of open defecation practice in communities very fast and might achieve 100 per cent open defecation-free status within a few weeks to a few months depending on the size of the village/community. It is usually either instant or never. However, saying this, some follow-up is important, in order to ensure that CLTS is sustained and improvements in latrines are made over the long term.
It is very important that the council through the Councilors and Ward Committees identify natural leaders within the sanitation action group and encourage them to take charge of ensuring that action plans are followed through and changes in behavior are sustained.
Once total sanitation is achieved, encourage the community members to put up a board or sign saying so. This will increase their sense of pride and also serve to awaken interest among visitors to the village who may be interested in doing the same back home.
To ensure that people do not revert back to old behaviors once total sanitation has been achieved, the community might decide on a penalty for those who continue to practice open defecation. All these could be easily co-coordinated by the Councilor and or Ward Committee members.
Over time there will be a gradual behavior change of the community. Once a family start using toilets they get used to the safety, convenience and comfort, and tend not to want to go back to open defecation again.
This behavior change, rather than the construction of quality latrines, is the key to the sustainability of the CLTS approach. However, the first locally made low-cost latrines might not last long: within a year or so they may have filled up or the shelter may have fallen down.
Often a household will spontaneously construct a better and more durable toilet when this happens. In some cases, however, some follow-up may be needed, to encourage community members to follow through with the commitments they have made.