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NOTICES & DOCUMENTS  

Environmental Forum for Action (ENFORAC)
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Apr 28, 2010, 17:06
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CONTACT: Ansumana Swarray FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Mobile #: 232-76-463653
Email: enforac@yahoo.com

THE CONSTRUCTION OF MINI HYDROELECTRIC DAM AT CHARLOTTE FALL

The Environmental Forum for Action (ENFORAC) wishes to inform the general public of the decision by the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) to construct a mini hydroelectric dam, with an output of 2MW at the Charlotte Waterfall, about 15 Km from Freetown

Charlotte Fall is strategically located at the fringes of the western Area Peninsula Forest Reserves, along the mountain route to Grafton Village. It is an area that generally attracts tourists, with the Falls being the main attraction. The Charlotte village is also a historical relic as the Annie Walsh memorial School was first located there during the colonial era. It has also been confirmed by the local communities that a massive landslide occurred there in the 1940s leading to the relocation of the current village, as we know it.

ENFORAC learned about the GoSL decision to construct a mini hydro dam in December, 2009 during a working tour with its partner Welthungerhilfe (WHH), in preparation for the implementation of the EU funded Project - Conservation of the Western Area Peninsula Forest Reserves (WAPFoR) and its Watershed, over the next 5 years. A site assessment was conducted wherein it was noticed that about three acres of the secondary forest around the fall was cleared and burned and soil taken for analysis. Interviews were also conducted with some of the community people

Immediately after this, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MEWR) was contacted through an official letter, followed by visits to the Ministry, to ascertain whether due process had been followed, especially related to conducting feasibility studies , and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the implementation plan of the proposed project. The MEWR replied that such documents were not available as the Chinese firm contracted did not conduct any feasibility study and EIA. MEWR promised to conduct a rapid assessment and inform the public according, through an official assessment. However, ENFORAC is so far not aware, whether or not the assessment was conducted, as there is no official report available to date.

ENFORAC views the actions of MEWR as unacceptable, given that MEWR itself has not complied with the governments own principles of environmental sustainability in pursuit of sustainable development. ENFORAC believes that the balance between development, conservation and environmental management must be maintained in order to ensure a sustainable economic development as well as a healthy environment for future generation.

ENFORAC therefore implores the government and the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (SLEPA) to ensure that environmental principles are adhered to in any development and also would like to see that due processes are followed or revisited for the continuation of this Charlotte Dam Project.

About The Environmental Forum for Action (ENFORAC): We are a coalition of environmental non-governmental organizations, community groups and academic institutions who have come together as a united voice to maximize our impact on policy, management and behavioral change for a healthy environment. enforac@yahoo.com National Coordinator: Ansumana Swarray, 232 76463653


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