APIA WATER SUPPLY THREATENED

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APIA, Samoa (March 1, 1999 - PACNEWS)---The Government of Samoa is moving to prevent any more farming and home construction in the area of the main water catchment reserve that supplies water to residents in the capital, Apia.

The Prime Minister's office announced the move following an inspection of the Alaoa water reserve by a Government team, led by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

The survey found that people have encroached on a major part of the water catchment area -- farming parts of it and building permanent dwellings -- and threatening the water supply in areas west and east of Apia.

A statement from the PM's office said a cattle farm runs to within five meters (16.5 feet) of the reserve's dam.

The Government fears that agricultural cultivation in the major part of the catchment reserve may contribute to disrupting the water supply during the dry season.

Samoa's Water Authority said the legal requirement is that catchment reserves should cover an area of close to one thousand acres. It is clear, the authority reported, that a priority for the Government is to take action to prevent further encroachment into the city's water supply source areas.

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