J.I.C.A. projects highlighted

Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.) has contributed more than  140 million tala into three major projects in Samoa.

Last Friday, J.I.C.A. proudly organised a media tour to showcase the three projects that are in various stages of completion.

These three projects are the Vailima Water Treatment Plant, the Apia Port/Wharf (Matautu-Tai) and Samoa Meteorology at Mulinu’u. 

The first site visited was Vailima Water Treatment Plant and according to the press release, the Vailima Water Treatment Plant was constructed under a Project called “Urban Consolidated Untreated Water Supply Rehabilitation Project” with the Samoa Water Authority as the main counterpart. 

This project’s cost came to an amount of $40.8 million tala. 

The new treatment facility used the roughing and slow sand filtration for treatment of raw water. 

Roughing filtration helps reduce the turbidity of water supplied and is used as a pre-treatment before slow sand filtration.

Slow sand filtration uses physical processes such as sedimentation, absorption and straining to remove fine particles as well as microbiological processes to remove organic material and bacteria.

The treatment facility has helped S.W.A. increases access to clean, reliable and affordable water supplies and has improved water supply services by S.W.A. within Apia urban. 

The project also provided upgrades of water intake facilities, transmission pipelines, distribution pipelines and meter installation administered by S.W.A.

Not only that, J.I.C.A. has provided Technical Assistance for S.W.A. through its funded Capacity Enhancement Project with Okinawa also known as C.E.P.S.O. (Capacity Enhancement Project for Samoa Water Authority in Cooperation with Okinawa. 

Operation and Maintenance Engineer for S.W.A., Vagana Sitivi Faaea said that “This is one of the new treatment plants from the three plants that were included by the project funded by J.I.C.A.  and it was opened last year. 

“Now this is Vailima Treatments Plants substitute which gives a hand to the main treatment plant at Alaoa because there are a lot of people living in the town area. 

“That’s why Vailima is very helpful for Alaoa for the filtration of water. 

Vagana said the areas covered by the Vailima Treatment Plant are Papauta, Leufisa, Tanugamanono, part of Moto’otua and Nafanua. 

 “Yesterday we completed the transfer from the old raw water system that was straight from the intake. 

He said 95% of the customers who are staying in the covered areas have already been transferred onto the new system. 

“So now they have all been metered and started with their new arrangements of their accounts in terms of billing. 

“So the processing of this one, covers about 600 customers in the villages mentioned before. 

“Most still have a lack of water, that’s why the government preferred to add onto this water treatment plant here, to make sure everyone has treated water because some people have treated water and some have raw water.

Vagana said there’s about eight families from these areas left to have treated water; the reason being,some of them haven’t paid water bills yet from the old system. 

“But for now, most of the people living in the town area have treated water and are using the metering system.”

The second site was the Apia Port/Wharf and according to the press release the project being implemented here is to “Enhance of Safety for the Apia Project” and this project cost $80 million tala. 

The project aims for the improvements for the Port of Apia in terms of a new wharf extension by 137 meters for safe mooring of cruise ships, reconstruction of container yard space will increase to 23,000m2 from 17,000m2 which will create more than twice the capacity for container storage, installation of fenders, rehabilitation of navigational lights and conversion to L.E.D. (light emitting diode) and tugboat rehabilitation works.

The Senior Project Manager, Kentaro Yoshida, from Oriental Consultants Global said that this project consists of five components.

Right now they are currently working on the rehabilitation of the container yard pavement and rehabilitation of concrete beam and slab and according to the senior project managers; they intend to finish these parts of the project by next month. 

The other components they are going to work on next are the extension of the new wharf, the new container yard constructions and the rehabilitation of two tugboats.

“Our project started last July and we expect to complete it next year in June. 

“The project around this moment is about 13% completed.

The third site was the Samoa Meteorology Division at Mulinu’u, and the project for it was ‘Improving the Weather Forecasting System and Meteorological Warning’ at a cost of $20.5 million tala. 

According to the press release, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Meteorology Division is the beneficiary Organization of J.I.C.A.’s Grant Assistance Project that provided the installation of the Wind Profiler Radar. 

The equipment has helped enhance the weather forecasting system in Samoa and assist especially in providing lead time for possible tropical cyclones making landfall. 

J.I.C.A. volunteer, Mr.Takeshi Matsumura, a computer technician by profession is with the Meteorology Division and has contributed to the development of a ‘tool’ used in weather forecasting since he was sent here in 2016. 

This application for Samoa Weather app is known as The Samoa Meteorology Division Hazard Early Warning App and is now available for download online on Androids based Smartphone and also available in both English and Samoan language. 

This weather application has the following features: Hazard watch and warnings (tsunami, cyclone, and heavy rain), Earthquake information severer than Magnitude 6, Weather forecast (2times/day, every 6 hours, 4 days), additional useful information (tide table, moon phase, sunrise/sunset time). 

Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea for Meteorology Division emphasized that J.I.C.A. has been a big help.

“The wind profiler radar has helped us to get accurate data for weather forecast and also in the case of early warnings to people when it comes to natural disasters.

“We can also warn people through S.M.S. on their phones and that’s all through these technological apps that w have now.

“So not only have they donated equipment but they have also shared their knowledge and this is through the people that they have sent to create these weather apps.” 

“Another aid from the government of Japan was initiating our animation promotion that was voiced by our own local people and we promoted that through the television to make people be aware of what’s to come.”

With all these projects and developments for Samoa, we feel that Samoa and Japan’s relationship has come so far. 

Acting President Representative for J.I.C.A. Samoa, Mr. Eizen Irei said  “All these facilities directly lead to everyday’s lives of people and.”

Mr.Eizen said that J.I.C.A. is trying their best in helping out to improve the living standards of our people. 

“We are very happy that J.I.C.A. could contribute to improve the living conditions of Samoan people not only through grant assistance but also through young volunteers and experts.” 

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