Households illegally connecting water

An estimated 0.6 per cent of households in the central Apia area are illegally connecting water to their homes. 

This is according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.) expert of non-revenue water, Hattori Toshiyuki, who said this number is good – compared to 5-10 per cent of households carrying out the illegal act in other countries. 

Mr. Toshiyuki is part of the Capacity Enhancement Project for Samoa Water Authority (S.W.A.) in cooperation with Okinawa, Japan (C.E.P.S.O.), which is a five-year project implemented since August 2014. 

“We visited 500 households and we counted five or six illegal connections, which accounts to the 0.6 per cent average so 0.6 per cent is a good number for the country but still it is illegal.”

S.W.A. Manager (urban division), Faumuina Iese Toimoana, said illegal connections contribute to non-revenue water and those found doing so are fined. 

Leakages, distribution, service connection and water tanks account to 85 per cent of the non-revenue water and 40 per cent is customer meter inaccuracy, said C.E.P.S.O. chief advisor Takara Motomu. 

“Through this project, S.W.A. replaced old meters that are more than six years old. They replaced 1440 meters this year, which is about 40 per cent of the 3,400 households in the central Apia area,” Mr. Motomu said, adding because of this S.W.A.’s revenue increased. 

By how much, he couldn’t tell. 

“We replaced old pipelines and fixed the leaked and non-revenue water declined from 68 per cent to 39 per cent, and our target is 35 per cent.”

Faumuina said the production from the water treatment plant was 100 per cent and they only managed to sell 32 per cent.  

“The other 68 per cent we didn’t get any money from it, it is counted in the losses, but that’s when we started this project. Now in 2019, we managed to sell 61 per cent and the loss is 39 per cent,” Faumuina said.  

Faumuina explained through C.E.P.S.O., local officials are able to identify leakages around Apia without assistance, and they are considering taking the project to the rural areas.  

“C.E.P.S.O. is a very useful project and we learn a lot from it. This is mainly a software package where capacity building is very important to the S.W.A. operation. That’s why they target the S.W.A. operation because when they leave, we will be able to sustain. “ 

Mr. Motomu said Samoa’s water has been tested and its quality is safe to be consumed. 

S.W.A. was one of the sites visited by the Samoa media on Wednesday as part of the J.I.C.A. media tour. 

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