Sierra Leone is well-watered and is now utilising its water resources for economic and social benefits. However the perceived abundance of Sierra Leone water resources should not give cause for complacency.
Sierra Leone has abundant water resources. However, the demand on these resources is growing rapidly due to increasing pressures from hydroelectric power generation, growing population, water supply to urban, small and large towns, mining, industrialization and irrigation activities. The destruction of critical watersheds and water catchment areas by various human activities and changing climatic conditions have resulted to water scarcity leading to the drying up of many streams and resulting in the decline of the groundwater aquifers. No one knows with absolute certainty how much water is available for the nation’s future growth and prosperity. With a growing population, expanding industry (particularly mining and commercial agriculture) and poor levels of water supply coverage, it is important that water resources are monitored and managed robustly; and effective regulation is introduced
One of the findings of the 2010 National Water and Sanitation Policy was that though Sierra Leone is blessed with abundant water resources, very little has been done to manage it. That is because the responsibility was being executed by state owned water utility companies, who were burdened with water supply. The policy therefore recommended that an entity solely responsible for the management of the country’s water resources be established, thus the National Water Resources Management Agency. The National Water Resources Management Agency (NWRMA) has the mandate to manage and safeguard water resources at local, national and transboundary in Sierra Leone. The Ministry is also responsible for supporting the establishment of a regulator termed the National Water Resources Management Agency.
Sierra Leone’s water resources monitoring infrastructure was largely destroyed during the decade long Civil War (1991 – 2002). Our activity is targeted at building experience and expertise in water resources management and managing water locally to solve real water-related problems and issues. We are leading and coordinating the (re) establishment of hydrological monitoring activities. We do this by working with multiple and diverse organisations who have an interest in hydrological data. We recognise the value of community-based water resources management, with communities and schools actively engaging in collecting hydrological data. We use data to inform our decision-making for both planning purposes and for enforcing national regulations.
Our purpose is to support the sustainable management of water resources. We also contribute to safeguarding domestic water supplies and work with industry to help them understand their environmental responsibilities. Our aim is to monitor, understand and report on the state of water resources, promote the importance of managing water resources, enforce water resources law and support the delivery of effective regulation. To that end we focus on the areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact. It is mandated with broad functions to regulate, utilize, protect, develop, conserve, control and manage ground and surface water resources throughout Sierra Leone. The Agency started operations in February 2019, underscoring the government of Sierra Leone’s unflinching commitment in actualizing the National Water Resources Management