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Building Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation into the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme in Sierra Leone

Peter Nelson is leading a team of four specialists in developing adaptation approaches to climate change in the water and sanitation sectors in Sierra Leone.

The study is being conducted on behalf of the African Development Bank and Ministry of Water Resources. It is designed to deliver the final project endorsement from the Global Environmental Initiative Facility (GEF) under its Least Developed Countries Fund.

The Climate change adaptation measures have a budget of $4 million out of the total project budget of $28 million to be spent over 3 years.

Temperature change west Africa annual

Four Climate Models predict increases in annual temperature in West Africa of between 0.5 and 6.5°C by 2100 with a conservative estimate of 2-3°C.

The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project (RWSSP) is based in Kambia, Koinadugu, Kono, Pujehun and Bonthe which are the five Districts with the poorest level of infrastructure support to rural communities. Up to 70% of the population lacks access to safe water and 30% has no form of sanitation.

Pregnant women, children under 5 and schoolgirls are especially vulnerable to water borne diseases, including Amoebic dysentery, Cholera, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. These illnesses increase during periods of flooding when pit latrines overflow.

Conversely, shallow wells and boreholes frequently cease to function in the dry season as the ground water table falls and a projected increase of 2-3°C in annual temperature will reduce available water supplies.