Hope springs from Saaga water project
More than 400 Saaga village residents will gain access to safe, clean drinking water following the construction of a new treatment plant - a pilot which, if successful, could be rolled out to other villages,
The construction of a $1.2 million water treatment plant at Saaga will begin later this year, Clarissa Taavili-Laulala, the Independent Water Schemes Association (I.W.S.A.) Office Manager, confirmed in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
Saaga residents currently access water supply an Independent Water Scheme which, as Ms. Laulala explained, usually only produces water not fit for drinking.
The pilot programme could have significant implications for water access in other villages, if the programme is successful and further donor funding can be secured. Some 15 per cent of Samoa’s water access is provided under Independent Water Schemes, more than 55 of which are managed by the I.W.S.A.
“The Saaga project is a model that will be piloted to see how it works and hope to do it for the rest of the schemes,” she said during an interview at I.W.S.A. headquarters at Pat Ah Him Building in Apia
“A [water] scheme can [connect with] one village or many villages; it all depends on where the sources are located.”
The new project is funded by the European Union (E.U.) through Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.). in partnership with I.W.S.A.
Ms. Laulala said that the Association deals with upgrading and supervision of the project.
She told the Samoa Observer that in the past a lack of funding has limited the extent of possible upgrades such as replacing water pipelines to ensure the clean supply of water.
She added that most of the pipes used by independent water schemes were galvanized and not made from polyvinyl chloride (P.V.C.).
Research showed water transported through galvanised pipes can sometimes produce health concerns.
“The project will also have water meters because we found that the meters serve to control the demand,” said Ms. Laulala.
“Our role usually involves [the outsourcing] and supervision of the works [independent water schemes owned and managed by villages] and our association was initially formed with a common interest that want to assist the management of their water supply.
“The office helps facilitate upgrades to the network whereas such as replacement of pipes and rehabilitation of water intake and also capacity building out in the communities, help the local plumbers, but the communities or villages manage their systems of water schemes.”
The commencement of the new project comes after the I.W.S.A. completed a similar filtration project last year which provided home water treatment systems to more than 300 households within Independent Water Schemes.
The home water treatment systems (filters) were designed to remove primarily bacteria (E.coli and other faecal coliforms) and protozoan cysts such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
They are also capable of removing sediments and other small particles as small as 0.3 microns, she said.
It is anticipated that with the installation of these filters there will be a reduction in water related diseases in the communities.
She also acknowledged various organisations which contributed in their work like Australian Volunteers International, E.U., Canadian Fund and M.W.C.S.D.
After an initial pilot project in 2016 which confirmed these types of filters were suitable for local Samoan conditions and that they were easy to use and maintain, the I.W.S.A. obtained two tranches of funding from the Canadian Government.