Sunday, July 09, 2006

Water shortage part 2...

The water situation in Freetown is a serious concern. Only time can tell what will really happen.

At the health task force meeting this past Wednesday it was confirmed that without significant rainfall the current water stock will only last for another 15-20 days! It was also mentioned that there are only two water tankers in the city- hardly enough to meet the city’s demand. And in the meantime commercial water prices in the market are soaring. The price of a 1.5L bottle of water has gone from Le 2000 to between Le 2500 and Le 3000 (Le 3000 = 1$US). Water packed locally is becoming scarce, its quality is deteriorating and its price has doubled.

The state-run Guma Valley water company announced on Wednesday that there was only six feet of water in the Guma Valley river reservoir built 100-feet deep, the lowest level it has reached in 39 years. Various reasons have been given. Inflow into the dam has dropped drastically as the rainy season just hasn’t really been that rainy yet. Deforestation around the dam area has also contributed to the water crisis because when it does rain, most of the water is lost as run-off. Also the dam was originally designed to 'serve' 300,000 people, however, over the years the population in Freetown has more than doubled, reaching over 1 million people today. I guess it was only a matter of time.

To stretch the little available water, a water rationing system has been introduced so that on alternating days various areas of the city will get water. Needless to say, people are already short on water and the water they are receiving is of poor quality. Fears of a cholera epidemic have been voiced. And the government and various NGOs are trying to come up with solutions. I just hope and pray that something happens quickly.

At our house we are trying to conserve water and going to introduce a rainwater catchment system. We need to collect every drop of water we can. We will do the same at the center. Meanwhile, in the clinic I am daily trying to get the message across to the moms and dads that they need to be boiling their drinking water and using ORS if anyone gets diarrhea. I only hope that I can play a part in preventing serious disease and possibly death.

No comments:

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~