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Sierra Leone

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Sierra Leone

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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
HydroBasin Level:
Baseline Water Stress:
Water Quality Stress:
Sanitation Access Stress:
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Quick Info

2.41 out of 5
WWF Country Risk Score
146 out of 248 Countries
WWF Country Rank
Total Organizations: 8
Total Projects: 4
Priority SDGs: Increase Access to Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (SDG 6.1 & 6.2)
Water Quality (SDG 6.3)
Water Use Efficiency (SDG 6.4)
Integrated Water Resource Management (SDG 6.5)
Protect and Restore Ecosystems (SDG 6.6)
Water-Related Disaster Management (SDG 11.5)
Climate Resilience and Adaptation (SDG 13.1)
Priority Regions: --
Priority Industries: Biotech, health care & pharma
Food, beverage & agriculture
Fossil fuels
Organization Types:
NGO / Civil Society
Profile Completion: 73%

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $1,059,047,800.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $287,527,366.00 - [27%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $228,803,475.00 - [22%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $156,583,175.00 - [15%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $116,405,047.00 - [11%]
  • Water Scarcity: $93,220,769.00 - [9%]
  • Water Management: $176,507,967.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

Access to Water Supply and Water Services
Compliance with Local Regulations and Widely-Accepted Standards
Physical water supply
Upstream Water Issues
Water Demand and Competition among Users

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Sierra Leone can be divided into 12 river basins, of which five are shared with Guinea and two with Liberia. The most important ones, from west to east, are: the Kolente (Great Scarcies), Kaba, Rokel, Pampana (Jong), Sewa, Moa, and Mano. The groundwater resources of the country have not been extensively studied. They correspond almost totally to the baseflow of the rivers, and the permeability of the substratum is high. Internal renewable water resources are estimated at 160km3/year, with surface water accounting for 150km3/year. Seasonal variations are important: only 11-17 per cent of the annual discharge occurs between December and April, with minimum discharge in April. Internally produced groundwater is estimated to be 50km3/year. Of that, 40km3/year is considered to be overlap between surface water and groundwater. Wetlands are important in rice and vegetable production. Sierra Leone signed the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1999 and 66 Ramsar sites exist in the country. Sierra Leone has only one major dam, the 68m-high Guma dam, built for hydroelectricity purposes, close to Freetown. However, there is considerable potential for the development of small-scale hydroelectric schemes that could also be designed to accommodate irrigated agriculture. An inventory identified 21 sites for hydropower development, with a hydroelectric potential which already exceeds by far the medium-term demand of the country (the total potential is believed to be much higher). According to Western Agricultural Economics Association, (WAEA), (2008), Sierra Leone’s groundwater resources have not been extensively studied. They correspond almost totally to the baseflow of the rivers, and the permeability of the substratum is high. The hydropower potential of Sierra Leone is estimated at 1513MW, scattered in 27 sites across the country. At present, two sites have been developed. A 2.4MW plant is at Guma and a 4MW plant which supplies part of the electricity needs of Bo and Kemema. A plant is being built at Bumbuna, with an installed capacity of 47MW and a 203km-long transmission line intended for the Western Region (WAEA, 2008). The development of additional hydropower sites is very important in Sierra Leone, as roughly 5 per cent of people have access to electricity. The energy situation is a serious impediment to Sierra Leone’s economic growth, particularly in the industrial and service sectors. Furthermore, the country is also one of a small number in West Africa with some of the highest costs of electricity generation and delivery in the world (WAEA, 2008). The country is drained by nine major rivers. These are the Rokel/Seli, Pampana/Jong, Sewa, Waanje and the coastal streams and creeks that originate from within the country. The rest are the Great and Little Scarcies and Moa Rivers that originate from the Fouta Jallon Plataeu in the Republic of Guinea, and the Mano River that originates from the Republic of Liberia. These rivers range in length from 160km for the Great Scarcies to 430km for the Sewa River, and in area from 2,530km2 for the coastal streams and creeks to 14,140km2 for the Sewa River. Out of the nine major river basins, four (Great Scarcies, Little Scarcies, Moa and the Mano) are shared with neighbouring countries (Economic Commission for Africa, (ECA), 2007). The monthly runoff for the river basins follows the variability of the rainfall. The total mean annual runoff from the river basins is 160km3 (ECA, 2007). Most of the country is underlain by Precambrian crystalline formations, which have no primary porosity. Groundwater accumulation therefore occurs in fractures, joints and fissures. The aquifers are therefore discontinuous (ECA, 2007). Sierra Leone is endowed with vast surface and groundwater resources. These resources are unevenly distributed in space and time, however, and in the dry season in particular, they do not meet the country’s needs. The resources are also threatened with rapid population growth, increased industrial activities, environmental degradation which causes soil erosion, drainage of wetlands and pollution of rivers. In addition, knowledge about these resources is inadequate (ECA, 2007)

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Country Water Profile

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Organizations in Sierra Leone

Campaign for Human Rights &amp; Development Sierra Leone (CHRDSL) is a Human Rights Organization based in Sierra Leone with the object of helping Sierra Leoneans to stand up for their basic human rights. The CHRDSL pursues its objectives through engagement … Learn More

Increasing access to safe water and sanitation by connecting and mobilizing volunteer plumbers and plumbing industry leaders and resources to projects and organizations dedicated to safe water and sanitation. Learn More

To support sustainable improvement in the livelihood situations of men, women, girls and boys in the communities of Sierra Leone through participatory empowerment interventions. Learn More

Who we are Save-Life Initiative is an organization that provides environmental protection program in Bombali District and Koinadugu District, North Eastern Region of Sierra Leone. Our Services Environmental protection and provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning … Learn More

Mission of Sierra Leone Youth Initiative Network (SLYIN) Advocates for policy changes that will improve the lives of young people, including better access to education, more job opportunities, and increased participation in decision-making processes at all levels of society. Provides … Learn More

The local NGO (The Prince Forde Foundation) was established in 2015. Our mission is to be - “Working in collaboration with likeminded individuals and institutions in providing educational, community empowerment and health care services for children/youths, the poor and disadvantaged … Learn More

Help reduce Drugs abuse and crime in Africa Learn More

WASH-Net’s mission is to contribute to the development of Sierra Leone by supporting the poor and marginalized groups to access safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene as a human right, engage government and other stakeholders to ensure that these services … Learn More

Projects in Sierra Leone

RACAP was mandated to lead the water, sanitation, and hygeine (WASH) response of the Sierra Leone Pujehun District through the District Emergency Operation Centre (DEOC). This poses a challenge for the management of RACAP because of lack of support while … Learn More

Background/Problem The population is causing many a socio-economic problems viz., poverty, unemployment, lack of food, education, minimum housing, health care, and in access to safe drinking water. In respect of Human Development Index (HDI), Sierra Leone ranked at 182 out … Learn More

Around 73 percent of the people in the Kasunko chiefdom Koinadugu district Northeast region of Sierra Leone are deprived of drinking water. It is a massive crisis in the savannah Grassland maintainous Koinadugu District Northeast region of Sierra Leone due … Learn More

Project WET is currently active in more than 75 countries around the world through a network of partner organizations that range from small NGOs to major international corporations and organizations. We only go where we’re invited! We work with our … Learn More

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