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Study warns of village water schemes

A study on unreported health issues and sanitation assessment across independent water schemes was presented by Fonoti Emile Adams from the Sanjoe Consultancies.

The presentation was conducted at the Eighth National Water and Sanitation Sector Forum, which was held recently at the Samoa Convention Center, TATTE Building.

According to Fonoti, the research was conducted in 2017 and focused water quality, sanitation and the hygiene of communities that are dependent on their village water under the Independent Water Scheme and registered with the Independent Water Scheme Association. 

“The background is that access to safe drinking water is a health and development issue at the national, and community level. Sanitation and hygiene are equally critical for health and development.

“The current Samoa National Development Strategy 2016/17-2019/20 under Priority Area 3: Infrastructure and Key Outcome 9: Access to Clean water and Sanitation Sustained: reliable, clean, affordable water and basic sanitation for all people in Samoa.

“The 2016 European Union project, ‘Water and Sanitation Sector and Climate Change Adaptation Support Programme’ supported the implementation of the Samoa Water and Sanitation Policy of reliable, clean, affordable water and basic sanitation within framework of Integrated Water Resources Management,” he added. 

Fonoti said for the Independent Water Scheme Association, the major infrastructure is completed for most water schemes of laying pipes with proper fittings, allowing distribution of water to households from their primary water source (river source).

“Independent Water Scheme—managed through the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development—requested a study on quality water distributed to households particularly reported diseases.

“Independent Water Scheme water is not treated water. The study of the independent water scheme was coordinated through Ministry of Women Community and Social Development in collaboration with the Independent Water Scheme. 

“Independent Water Scheme, of which there are 34 in both Upolu and Savaii is legal entity recognized in the Water Schemes Bill 2015, as the second water services provider,” he said.

He also said the Independent Water Scheme Association serves 30,000 people, 17 per cent of Samoa’s population.

“There are 34 Independent Water Schemes in Upolu and six in Savaii but the study covered 18 Independent Water Schemes in Upolu and six in Savaii.

“The data collected through survey questionnaire, and general feedback. A total of 400 households were interviewed for the survey.

 “The findings showed that village water schemes were not treated, so there is a risk of presence of harmful pathogens in the water causing health issues, especially during rainy periods,” he added. 

He also said that sanitation and hygiene are the responsibility of each family, and sanitation issues are a concern with most households visited.

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