A delegation from the Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) has on Friday 17th February 2023 left Freetown for Bonthe Island to sensitize the people on water usage and announce the commercialization of water supply in the district.

The visit was led by the Company’s Director of Planning, Research, and Policy, Mr. Saffa Bockarie.

The engagement was organized at the Bonthe District Council Hall and brought together several stakeholders and residents in the Municipality.

The event was chaired by the Mayor of the Bonthe Municipal Council, His Lordship, Layemin Joe Sandi he states that he is more pleased to welcome the SALWACO delegation adding that a good number of sections at the Municipality have been enjoying the supply of safe drinking water for some time now.

He further that before now, the Municipality had greatly been constrained to getting access to safe drinking water which at some point urged him and his Council to reach out to World Vision International to aid in salvaging the situation and however later also continued to lobby with SALWACO’s supervisory ministry; Ministry of Water Resources.

He noted that as a result of those strategic engagements and discussions, Bonthe is once again proud and happy to get a reliable water supply adding that it’s now the responsibility of residents to take absolute care of the SALWACO installations and to see that the services are adequately protected at all times.

Director of Planning, Research, and Policy for SALWACO, Mr. Saffa Bockarie stated that phase one of what SALWACO is currently doing in Bonthe Island covers rehabilitation for lots 1&2, adding that those projects are already near completion.

He speaks on the importance of water as a basic necessity and urged people not to waste water noting that water treatment comes at a huge cost informing the gathering to be ready and willing to pay for water in line with the announced water rates. He reiterated that treating water with chemicals is huge and that SALWACO tries as best to ensure that Water Treatments comply with WHO standards.

Speaking on the different tariffs, the Project Engineer of Bonthe Water Supply, Ing. Yusuf Junisa encouraged the people to pay for consumed water adding that water tariffs vary depending on consumption.

He said effective immediately, there is a cut-off for all residents in freely accessing water, stating that all consumed water should now be paid for at very minimal rates. He said that water rates range from Le 9 and Le 15 for private/domestic homes, with a fixed charge of Le 5. Institutions should pay Le 15/Le 20 and a fixed charge of Le 10. Commercial entities are to pay Le 32 and a fixed charge of Le 10. The flat rate is Le 50/month and a fixed charge of Le 10.

Ing. Yusuf furthered that there would equally be meter readers, noting that the bills would be time bound and that non-payment of water rates may lead to disconnection.

Stakeholders present appreciated the SALWACO delegation for what they referred to as very timely engagements and a welcoming sensitization and assured of their commitments to adequately uphold and honor the new water rates.

They particularly felt happy to note that past water (already supplied and or consumed) will not be billed and expressed unhindered willingness therefore to pay for the new water rates henceforth.

Some of the residents are in areas that are yet to get connected pleaded with the SALWACO Management to ensure in-time connections for the benefit of all.

The sensitization ended on a high and positivist note. People promised to take ownership of SALWACO facilities and to adequately help to monitor the same plus to pay for consumed water. They further plead with SALWACO to continue to ensure that water is adequately treated with chemicals and related others and to see that it is safe for drinking.

The SALWACO team also produced sensitization jingles on the engagement in Krio, Mende, and Sherbro for the absolute understanding of all and sundry. On the whole, because of the unhidden significance of water, people in the Municipality have promised to leave up to expectations and equally asked SALWACO for better and quality services.