Analysis

Imagining Freetown’s Come Back Potential

12 July 2006 at 07:00 | 1076 views

"Imagine Freetown’s 8 urban wards and 4 rural wards that make up the Western area having the ability to choose among a dozen ward water-service operators. There can be only 12 ward water-service operators inclusive of special operators for diplomatic and tourist reserves in the western area."

Adrian Q. Labor (Civil Engineer)

Imagine Western Area being served by two multi-purpose water dams, a gravity-based distribution network, several service reservoirs, back-up pump stations and an auxiliary river - inlet pump station.

Imagine Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) as the holding company for this infrastructure described above and with the appropriate legislature that gives it full access to the right-of way below and above ground upon which this water supply infrastructure is installed and runs along.

Imagine Freetown’s 8 urban wards and 4 rural wards that make up the Western area having the ability to choose among a dozen ward water-service operators. There can be only 12 ward water-service operators inclusive of special operators for diplomatic and tourist reserves in the western area.

Imagine that the 135,000 households that make up Freetown and the 30,000 that make up the remaining towns in the Western Area have established property lines.

Imagine performance-based contractual agreement between GVMC and ward-approved water-service operators to pull water from within agreed upon points in GMVC’s network and provide piped water along with applicable metering within a household’s property line.

Imagine a ward council having performance agreement with ward water-service operators for the provision of water to residential, public and commercial properties within its ward.

Imagine ward water-service operators have customer-service agreements with property owners for the provision of water.

Having imagined this far, now consider this as a possible way to overhauling and expand the water supply services in Freetown. The difference between what we have now and that imagined above are as follows:

1) The focus is shifted from trying to make an old work-horse go further to envisaging an infrastructure and service operation that takes advantage of our new found liberties already legislated. Namely “privatization, local government and decentralization”

2) GVWC now focuses on water infrastructure and all related capital investment with the goal to become a combined water resource/utility infrastructure holding company.

3) GVWC only has to do expense accounts with only a handful of ward water service operators as opposed to 165,000 households. The burden has been lifted from GVWC to serve and collect payment from a range of household varying in terms of housing/owner structures (cement houses, zinc house, wooden house and sharks and squatters) and property lines(crown land, private public etc)

4) The ward water-service operators are small businesses that will in-time aggregate to take advantage of economies of scale. In their quest, water supply technology, water quality and administrative processes will be improved upon.

5) Household stats, property lines and their associated uses become available for city-wide planning by aggregating ward level information.

6) Performance agreement will usher in a new attitude to managing businesses and also jump-start accounting, taxation, legislative and judicial activities in order to hold parties to their respective agreement.

7) The Sierra Leone professional, at home and abroad, will have the critical role of creating many small businesses capable of carrying out the engineering, urban housing development, accounting, legal, financial, business management, information technology and training.

8) The ward water-service operators can evolve into ward utility-service operators providing waster, sewer, electricity and related services.

9) GWVC is the only city company with the catalytic commodity and legislative assets that can reinvent itself in way to lay a foundation upon which Freetown can spring forth.

Since you have imagined the possibility and consider the benefits, now act. If you think this is achievable then lend your professional expertise in authoring Freetown’s Next Infrastructure Project. Freetown’s last infrastructure project began implementation in 1993 and its activities were halted very early in the civil war.

Hear the issues at the upcoming Town Hall-Style meeting on August 12 2006. Http://SierraLeonePortal.net / Http://EMoverment.org

Start by reading the evaluation report of Freetown’s last infrastructure project that can be found via the links in the water, energy and environment portals.

Then go beyond procrastinating. Team up with colleagues and register in Freetown that interdisciplinary/professional business you think can compete in the system above. There are start-up business management companies in Freetown that can help persons in the Diaspora register a business and open up local banking account.

Make contact and take an interest in one or several of Freetown’s Ward council and the Freetown’s city council.

Ref: 2004 Household census - http://statistics.sl
Household / Population

Western Area Province 164,198 934,291
Rural District 30,060 169,807
Urban District 134,138 764,484

Photo: Guma dam, Freetown

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