Samoa won a number of awards at the conclusion of the 10th Pacific Water and Wastewater Association (P.W.W.A.) Conference held in Apia last week.
The ceremony held at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum was well attended.
Among the awards Samoa won were the Best Environmentally friendly utility: Wastewater collection and treatment and Improved Coverage, Reduced Non Revenue Water and Level of Breaks.
These awards helped Samoa to secure the overall award for Best Utility.
Chairman of P.W.W.A, Opetaia Ravai, congratulated Samoa and all the award winners.
“Just by working in the water sector, you are all winners,” he said.
Speaking about the water challenges in the region, the Chairman highlighted the story of Singapore.
“The scarcity of water in that island of about 500,00 square kilometers, it’s not a big island but everything and anything to do with the development in their economy they have to consider the issue of water,” he said.
“I think in the Pacific we take it for granted that we have lots of rivers, we’ve got the sea around us. We don’t look at developing integrated policies about developing water. More often than not, developers will come and build resorts or housing, then they realize the issue of water."
“We come in after the electricians and engineers for the roads but I think the lesson, if I had picked up something from that Singapore story, is that all these industries depend on water."
“I must congratulate all of you who have the passion to serve our people of this basic need of water. We all know how convenient it is when we don’t have water. And more often we take it for granted."
“I thank you all for helping the Pacific deliver water to our people. You’re working in a sector that directly impacts people’s lives.”
Pitolau Lusia Sefo-Leau, Chief Executive Officer of P.P.W.A, said the awards were based on three catergories.
The first group is for high-income countries utilities that have G.N.I. per capita US$20,000 and above. The second group is the middle-income countries while the third group includes utilities in transitional and development stages.
“They are based on the data collected through the benchmarking exercise which all member utilities voluntarily provide,” said Pitolau.
“This exercise is supported by the World Bank which also does the independent analysis according to data provided by each utility."
“It is a comparative measure of performance and provides a good basis for utilities to improve on their performance under various indicators.”
Prior to the award ceremony, more than 300 conducted a site visit of Samoa’s water resources and water treatment plants.
Samoa’s Water Authority Managing Director, Seugamaalii Jammie Saena, and her team showed the participants the workings of S.W.A’s wastewater plant at Sogi which processes large amounts of waste from commercial and government premises in Apia town, then they travelled to S.W.A’s water treatment plants at Aleisa and Fuluasou.
“These plants displayed some of the major infrastructure S.W.A. has installed in recent years to provide safe drinking water to Samoa.”