NO GO, NO FLOW: LACK OF WATER PRESSURE IN MAJURO

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 9, 1999 - Marshall Islands Journal)---Despite tests over the weekend, Majuro’s new fresh water distribution system is still not working, according to local officials.

Majuro Water and Sewer Company general manager Billy Roberts said that despite tests over the weekend there was "no significant improvement in the water pressure to Rita."

Minister of R&D/Works inspector Thomas Maddison said that the tests of the system are not completed and consultants from Parsons Engineering, which designed the system, will return in three-to-four weeks to complete the testing process in an effort to make the new system work.

He described the tests over the weekend as producing a "bit more" water pressure. The Ministry is conducting its own review of the drawings and plans to see if it can come up with solutions to the pressure problem, he added.

Robert said that Parsons officials are going to "review the design and look at means of making the new system work." But, he said, the lack of water pressure is only one of five significant problems in the new fresh water distribution system.

These problems demonstrate that there was no discussion with local officials knowledgeable in water distribution prior to the system being designed, Roberts said. As an example of one of the problems, he cited the large water tank located on the MIHS campus which he said is designed for systems providing 24 hour water, such as would be found in the U.S., England and Australia.

"Nobody looked at this and said 24 hour water isn’t a fact of life in the Marshall Islands," he said.

RMI ISN’T PAYING: TONY DEBRUM

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 9, 1999 - Marshall Islands Journal)---Finance Minister Tony deBrum called the recently completed but not working ADB-funded Majuro water project "a $7 million failure."

It is a good example of a poorly conceived project that did not take into account local knowledge, he said.

"Who’s going to be responsible to pay it back?" he asked. "We’re not. I hope that the Asian Development Bank will write it off as a grant that failed."

Minister deBrum noted that he and others, including MEC general manager Billy Roberts, had raised concerns about the project when it was first proposed, but their views were not taken into consideration at the time.

"$7 million has been spent and there’s less pressure in Rita (than with the old system)," he said.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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