Seugamaalii Jammie Saena has been reappointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Water Authority (S.W.A) for the next three years.
She told the Samoa Observer she is grateful and excited for the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Samoa.
As for her plans for the Authority,Seugamaalii highlighted some of the key issues.
“First of all coverage and accessibility,” she said.
“Extending our coverage area is a key focus for S.W.A.
“Many of our people have moved inland due to climate change but unfortunately these areas are outside the coverage area S.W.A. supplies so we aim to extend our coverage to these areas.
“Secondly it’s the improved community engagement.
“The support and buy-in from the communities is very important in getting work moving.
“A big part of the work S.W.A. does involve working with communities, they request work that needs to be done and we work with them to make it happen.
“If we have good relations with these communities, work flows well.”
She went on to say strengthening partnership with other relevant agencies and the improvement of service are other key factors of the Authority.
“The work of S.W.A. is not possible on its own,” she said.
“We work with, and rely on, other government agencies to deliver this important resource.
“Another area of focus is improving our service to our customers and instilling public confidence in S.W.A. as an efficient service provider.
“We have in the last three years simplified the process of customer queries and how these issues/complaints are handled.
“This comes from the shift in focus to the customer and their concerns and we still have some way to go, but I am confident that we will get there.”
Asked about the challenges within S.W.A. that need to be resolved the C.E.O. said climate change and people not paying their water bills are the key challenges.
“One of the key challenges is the impact climate change has on our water supply,” she said.
“S.W.A. has an obligation to impart education and awareness on the importance of conserving water and minimizing water wastage so this is also one of the reasons why we provide assistance to those customers with high water bills caused by leakages – we don’t want them to waste water.
“We also have vigilant leak detection and an aggressive metering programme which has been ongoing for some years now and that is one of the initiatives we set up to counter this water wastage and conservation issue.
“Another challenge is the willingness of people to pay their water bills.
“Samoa charges one of the lowest tariffs in the world so S.W.A. and the Government invest a lot of money in the infrastructure which brings water to a household or a business and we cannot maintain or rehabilitate that infrastructure if people don’t pay their bills.
“Put simply, the revenue from water bills goes to the operation and maintenance of the existing water infrastructure.”
Lastly, Seugamaalii was asked for a comment on the issues faced by members of the public during Samoa Observer’s programmes Village Voice where many families are faced by the problem of limited access to water.
“I have highlighted the various ways that these issues can be resolved, where they are relevant to the work of S.W.A,” said Seugamaalii.
“We recognize that these issues affect some more than others, but as I have tried to explain above, coverage and accessibility are key concerns of the work of S.W.A. that we continue to provide.”