Saaga residents thankful for $1.2 million water project

Residents of Saaga village in Siumu will soon be able to access clean drinking water, thanks to a $1.2 million tala project to upgrade their water system.

The funding will be provided through donor European Union (E.U.), which will work with the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development and the Independent Water Scheme Association (I.W.S.A.).

It has been a 16-year wait for the Saaga village and its residents with their mayor, Leau Apisaloma, telling the Samoa Observer that maintenance of the water system was a major challenge for them.

"We have been seeking assistance for the past 16 years for an upgrade on our water scheme because of so many difficulties we faced like maintenance," he said. 

"We are expecting to commence construction of a new water treatment plant sometime this month. Our people are grateful for the assistance because it would lessen the burden of maintaining the water scheme."

Clarissa Taavili-Laulala, the I.W.S.A. Officer Manager, said Saaga village is registered under their association and the new project will take seven months to complete. 

Mr Apisaloma said some houses in the village received home water treatment systems – which was designed to remove primarily bacteria (E.coli and other faecal coliforms) and protozoan cysts such as giardia and cryptosporidium – and came courtesy of the IWSA.

But he said the upgrade funded by the E.U. will go a long way in addressing their concerns over the long-term period.

"Water is a necessity for our people, we need it for survival which is why we especially thank our forefathers who were the founders of our water scheme," he said. 

The water project could have important implications for water access in other villages, added Ms. Laulala as if it is successful further donor funding can be secured for the other communities.

Some 15 per cent of Samoa’s water access is provided for under the Independent Water Schemes with more than 55 of which are registered I.W.S.A. members. 

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