Residents welcome chance to talk about Alaoa dam

Some families whose lives are likely to be affected by the Alaoa Multi-Purpose Dam have welcomed the opportunity to be able to express their views about it.

Lavea Uele, Magiagi, said the announcement of the public consultation process is timely and they are looking forward to the discussion.

 “We’ve been complaining about this for a while now and truth be told, we did not know anything about the dam,” he said.

“But if it’s true that there will be a dam that’ll block the river from overflowing, then that’s good.”

On Wednesday, the Government through the Electric Power Corporation (EPC), announced that they want to hear from residents who are likely to be affected as they begin to consider the project.

A media statement issued by EPC said the project is to combat flooding at the Vaisigano River.

“While we are still in the planning stage, if approved, the dam would provide a buffer that would prevent the river from flooding, protecting the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of people in the downstream areas of the region,” the statement says. 

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“But the benefits of the dam would go beyond flood mitigation. It would also improve the reliability of the seasonal water supply to Apia and neighbouring villages during dry periods. 

“And it would also provide the island with much-needed, renewable power generation through a run-of-river small hydropower plant that could provide clean, reliable power to many thousands of people in Apia.”

This is great news, according to another Magiagi resident, Faavae Toso Ahmann.

Further down at Maagao, the Tu’uga family and the Malele family were aware of plans for the Dam after a meeting conducted by EPC.

“My father had been to the meeting and he later told us that we no longer have to worry about the flooding of any river because the Dam that’s soon to establish is quite thick and we can count on that,” Neemia Malele said.

In the statement from EPC, they highlighted why the dam is necessary.

“Cyclone Evan in December 2012 was the worst cyclone to hit Samoa in a generation. Over a number of days, winds of more than 200 km/hr and rampant flooding destroyed lives, homes, critical infrastructure, businesses, and many parts of our great natural environment

“A second cyclone, Cyclone Gita, in February 2018, also caused widespread flooding and major damages to the same large parts of Apia. 

“The increasing threat of climate change means a reality in which natural events such as these will become more and more common to countries here in the Pacific, particularly Samoa.”

If approved, the dam will have the financial and technical backing of the Asian Development Bank and other development partners.

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