The Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers on Saturday 18th March 2017 held a one day workshop at the Bo Club House, Reservation Road in Bo, Southern Province of Sierra Leone on the theme Sustainable Electricity and Water Services—The Engineer’s Role.
The workshop discussed and raised awareness of the vital Role of Engineers in providing sustainable electricity and water services in the country. Participants were drawn from among the civil society, science students from secondary schools within the Bo Municipality, Engineers from both the South and Eastern Regions and the media.
CHAIRMANS OPENING REMARKS
Welcoming participants present, the chairman of the occasion Ing. John Bosco Kaikai who is also the Vice President of the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers, underscored the importance of electricity and water supply. He noted that distributions of the said services are paramount to any developing country. The engineers he said are paramount and key in the effective distribution of both electricity and water supply. Chairman Kaikai said electricity distribution in Sierra Leone is characterized by low level of access particularly in Freetown, even though the Bumbuna Hydro is creating some impact yet there are still problems in the dry season when the water level goes down. Chairman Ing. John Bosco Kaikai maintained that in the past we had constant electricity supply but over the years the service has greatly dwindled. He traced the problem of electricity supply in Bo as far back as 30 years ago when he was a student in the Bo Township. He however expressed hopes that the Engineers in Bo and Kenema should form an association and meet regularly to look into the problems of electricity and water distribution within the two regions.
STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT SLIE
Engineer Afriyie Assamany represented the President SLIE Ing. Prof. J.A.S Redwood-Sawyer who was unavoidably absent and presented the following statement on his behalf.
Theme : Sustainable Electricity and Water Services – The Engineers Role
Let me join the Chairman and other members of the Organising Team from the New England Office in Freetown and here in Bo under the guidance of Ing Bosco Kai Kai for this landmark event. The Memorandum and Articles of The SLIE makes provision for the setting up of regional branches in promoting engineering practice in Sierra Leone. This event marks the beginning of greater partnerships and cooperation among engineers towards creating greater visibility and inclusivity in our operations.
The theme is quite timely and topical and although it cuts across two ministries, it has a common focus of service to the citizenry of Sierra Leone. These two services are pivotal to a nation’s development and have a significant impact on all facets of human existence. It is therefore not surprising that Electricity and water supply have been made key priorities of Government’s development agenda and an integral component of the Agenda for prosperity. The role of engineers cannot be under-played in this context and the SLIE is very enthusiastic in working with the relevant ministries and related bodies to promote quality of services in their delivery.
The workshop is meant to provide a platform for discussion and identification of the challenges in providing electricity and water on a sustainable level. An extension of this focus is the ultimate desire of ensuring water and electricity security, i.e. ensuring that these services are adequate, reliable, sustainable and affordable. In the case of affordability, Government must provide innovative financial intermediaries or structures that will ensure access to water and electricity especially for the poor and disadvantage groups. There are examples in other economies that we can learn from. In many rural communities women and children spend an inordinate amount of time fetching water and firewood sometimes walking several kilometres in the process. These activities continue to reinforce the unequal opportunities between men and women. Making these utilities available and affordable will empower women and enhance their education and eventually increase their contribution to national development.
The Energy Strategic Plan by Government is laudable. The focus on public private partnership in its implementation is commendable and assures their successful realisation. As engineers and engineering institutions we are always willing to partner with government towards the realisation of energy security for the majority of our population.
I look forward to a successful workshop and the final recommendations. These will be discussed at Council and our suggestions forwarded to Government for consideration.
Let me therefore congratulate you for organising this workshop. We shall be discussing future collaboration with our regional members on areas of mutual interest.
Thank you for your attention.
Ing Prof Jonas A S Redwood-Sawyerr
STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN PERC
The Executive Secretary Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers Mr. Reginald Wilhelm read a statement on behalf of the Chairman PERC Ing. Tani Pratt.
THEME: Sustainable Electricity and Water Services – The Engineer’s Role.
Today is a day of rejoicing in the history of the Professional Engineers Council. It marks another significant landmark in the development of the profession and practice of engineering in Sierra Leone. Five years ago we held our first workshop in this historic City of Bo at which we introduced PERC.
PERC’s Mission Statement is:
To maintain internationally recognized standards of competence and commitment for the engineering profession and to license and regulate competent institutions and engineering practitioners to champion these standards thereby contributing to the well-being of humankind in Sierra Leone and beyond.
Today’s workshop focuses on two major infrastructural sectors as we discuss “Sustainable Electricity and Water Services – The Engineer’s Role”
This is a continuation of the recent action of PERC and SLIE in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy (MoE), EDSA and EGTC in holding a public consultative meeting on Monday 9th January 2017 to discuss what plans Government had made to provide adequate, reliable, affordable and sustainable power supply to consumers, especially as we approach the dry season with the challenges of low generation from Bumbuna and the attendant costs of generating power using the thermal plants available.
The nation’s growth is severely impacted by deficits in both quantity and quality of our infrastructure. Government is to be congratulated for the bold steps that are being taken to reduce this deficit. Engineers are an integral part in the design and supervision of infrastructure projects. It is therefore very important that we participate in the national dialogue relating to these two major and important infrastructure sectors.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I will remind you once again that the basic reason for regulating and licensing of the profession of engineering is to ensure that set standards are maintained to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public and the safeguarding of the environment. The engineering profession as a whole constitutes an important group in our society and should make a significant contribution to the development of our society.
Regulations, ethics and standards are at the heart of the development and growth of the engineering profession. In fact these are the areas that the PERC, in collaboration with other stake holders must show their greatest commitment.
More often than otherwise, deficiencies in engineering practice and ethics are the root causes of engineering failures sometimes with catastrophic consequences. To mitigate the risks of such failures, PERC will be responsible for the development of standards, regulations and appropriate sanctions that will give weight to Section 6 of the 1990 Professional Engineers Act which gives PERC statutory legal authority to:
- Prescribe standards of professional conduct and ethics for professional engineers
- Control the practice of engineering
I am pleading with our supervisory ministry the Ministry of Woks, Housing and Infrastructure once again to deal with the recommendations SLIE and PERC made over five years ago regarding improvements in the PERC Act which will allow us to provide better regulations for our profession.
I wish you all a fruitful and productive conference.
I thank you.
STATEMENT AND OFFICIAL OPENING
Councilor Wurie Jalloh, DEPUTY MAYOR BO CITY COUNCIL
Mr. Jalloh who represented the Mayor Bo City Council, welcomed participants to Bo City. He said they as a council were happy when they received the invitation to the workshop, because the Bo City Council is in the business of providing services to people in the municipality. Councilor Wurie Jolloh made references to other countries where public corporations are doing well in service delivery to their citizenry; while in Sierra Leone he said we are characterized by poor performance with little or no public services. He appealed to the engineers to work with government to ensure that the citizens have access to improved services. He said in the Raining Season the City of Bo is relatively okay in terms of electricity supplies, but coming over to the Dry Season it completely becomes a problem. He therefore called on the engineers to advice government on ways to improve service delivery in the county. He declared the workshop open and wished all a successful deliberation.
“Renewable Energy Sustainability and the Role of the Engineer”
This presentation was delivered by Engineer George Seiya of the EDSA-Bo. In his presentation he said nonrenewable energy cannot be sustainable. He disclosed an ongoing project of a 25MW solar energy to boost electricity in Bo and Kenema respectively. He said phase one of the project will start with 5 MW. Engineer Seiya said we cannot just rely on the national power grid; rather we should have a situation where private firms can invest in renewable energy sources. Hetherefore called on private firms to invest in the production of solar market. Also, he disclosed that plans are underway for an inter country connections between Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast. He said the 1345 KM transmission line will generate about 290 MW of energy which would include regional integration of energy supply.
Matters arising from the Presentation:
Engineer Charles Musa dilating on the problem of power supply said, there is need for the involvement of engineers in the planning stages of all development projects in the energy sector. He said a very good number of engineers are supervised by non-engineers. He pleaded with Chairman John Bosco Kaikai to move a motion towards that end.
Also engineer Sawi of SALWACO asked about the interrupted/fluctuation in the power supply system thereby damaging equipment of the consumers.
Responding to the matters raised, Engineer Seiya said the supply capacity for Bo City alone is between 10-12 MW, but at the moment they are only generating 1.5 Mw. He however assured participants that when they start supplying power from the solar energy such inconsistencies will no longer be observed. He cautioned participants that whenever they notice such inconsistent power supply they should shut down their expensive appliances.
“The Engineer’s Role in attaining Sustainable Electricity Services. A Regulatory view”.
The second presentation was done by Ing. Kelcise Sasay —He described sustainable energy as the supply of continuous, uninterrupted power to consumers. Some of the areas he talked on include projects to improve enabling environment for energy investments—identified needs and identified projects; policies for sustainable electricity; the challenges affecting the attainment of sustainable electricity services; the role of the engineers and suggested ways forward towards achieving sustainable energy supply.
“Economic Regulation of Urban Water Services—the Engineer’s Role” By Ing. Mohamed Kargbo
He said regulation is important in the water management system for regulatory purpose. He maintained that tariff and services should be at the same level.Good water and sanitation Engineer Kargbo noted are essential services for health, economic development and environmental protection. Some of the other key areas his presentation focused on were: defining economic regulations and the problems it can solve and those it cannot solve; problems that effective water supply regulation can solve; problems that economic regulation cannot solve—or at least cannot solve alone, with special reference to the Manila case study; good water regulatory attributes to be considered in any regulatory framework; water supply reform process and regulatory design features among others. He gave a detailed background of the Sierra Leone Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission as established by an Act of Parliament in 2011, to regulate the provision of highest quality of electricity and water services to consumers in Sierra Leone. Ing. Kargbo concluded his presentation by looking at the engineer’s role in water regulatory reform process. He defined the underlying problems, principal objectives and suggests means of improving the sector performance.
“Provision of Sustainable Rural Water Supply and the Role of Council in the Process”
Ing. Umaru D. Rogers of the Ministry of Water Resources Pujehun spoke on the topic. His presentation outlined among other things: water decades, administrative map, policy directive, SDG targets, role and responsibility of the council, demand responsive approach, sustainability challenges and recommendations. He noted that in rural water management the councils shall be the major financiers of the development plan.
Sustained Water Supply, using the Kenema water supply system as a case study
Giving his overview Ing. John Forewa said the provision of sustainable water supply is one of the main priorities of the government of Sierra Leone for poverty reduction and socio-economic development. He said Kenema presently has two water supply chains:
- Gravity system—which to date has a reticulation of coverage of 30% of the city; and
- The Three Towns Water Supply and Sanitation project—which is a conventional water treatment plant that covers about 60% of the Kenema City on the first phase that is already completed; and an additional of 96km on the reticulation to commence soon making the total coverage area of about 98%.
Challenges and opportunities in the water sector thereby affecting sustainable criteria
Ing. Sawi of SALWACO—Bo, examined including social, technical, administrative and environment criteria in attaining sustainable electricity and water supply services. He drew examples from water supply development projects that SALWACO has undertaken.
Comments and Recommendations:
- It was observed from amongst the participants that SALWACO needs a strong commercial system in order to handle the consumers effectively.
- Also, it was noted that the 200 liters per day supply of water to consumers in the Three Towns Water project is not sufficient to serve the people.
- Furthermore, the manner in which electricity is supplied to users became a concern. They therefore recommended that underground cable can be a more reliable and safe mean of power supply.
In conclusion, the Chairman of the occasion Ing. John Bosco Kaikai encouraged his colleague engineers to be dedicated to ensuring that the issues discussed in the workshop are taken seriously with the government. He said the government has done very well in the energy and water supply sectors, but more is required. He said if only politics is taken away from the energy business it will help the country to achieve sustainability in the sector. He made reference to Ghana where he said politics is completely taken out of the energy sector, thereby noting in strong terms that politicians of their times have failed to deliver in the sector; and therefore now they as engineers need to takeover in order to attain sustainable energy and water supply to the Sierra Leonean populace.