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By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 16) – The Temotu provincial capital, Lata, is facing a water crisis affecting all the essential services in the area, it has been revealed.

Speaking from Lata yesterday Provincial Secretary Edward Daiwo told Solomon Star that following weeks of draught and increasing cost of running the water pump generator, water supplied to all the residents and service has been scarce.

He said the situation worsens everyday for the township residents.

"The township depended much on newly purchased water pump funded by ROC in 2002 but due to the increasing cost of diesel the province could only manage 11 drums of fuel per month," Daiwo said.

He said as a result of water shortage they had to switch on the pump 14 hours a day from 4 p.m. in the afternoon till 6 a.m. in the morning on a daily basis to allow the tanks to be filled by morning.

"But this is not enough for the township," he said

He added that with the increasing population in the township and the surrounding area the demand for water is very high.

"Villagers of Gracisiou Bay where the water source was situated also depend on that supply, which is just a spring," he pointed out.

He said tanks needed to be constructed to ease the low supply.

"The only solution the province wanted is for a change to the entire system of supplying water because the old system cannot cater for the ever increasing population.

"The old system was designed around 1970’s and can only cater for 1,500 people but with the current increasing population of about 7,000 people the system has to be changed," Daiwo said.

He claimed that the province had submitted project proposals for assistance but since then nothing has been done.

"Only ROC responded to the call by giving enough funds to purchase the generator but not enough to meet the cost of implementing a new system," the PS said.

Daiwo said for years government officials visited the province with promises to do something about it but until today nothing has been done.

"People and all the services continue to suffer silently," he said.

It has been reported that schools and the hospital had been affected by the low supply of water. Schools had to be closed while the hospital cannot take in any more sick patients except for serious cases.

Chief Nursing Officer John Bakila confirmed to Solomon Star from Lata yesterday that most of the patients at the hospital were discharged from the hospital because of shortage of water.

"Only those that are very sick are allowed to remain in the hospital because the hospital cannot afford to keep patients without proper water and sanitation."

Bakila said the supply of water to the hospital is not adequate because of the low pressure due to the low rainfall as well as the demand of water along the way.

The Nursing Chief pointed that washing of hospital laundry has been affected and they were tempted to burn some of the used laundry because they were not able to wash them.

The two officers called on the government for any assistance through the provision of funds to implement a new system where water can be accessible to all because of it’s a long due problem.

June 17, 2005

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