Water, more than a drop quote

One thing about us here in Samoa, when you grab our attention with a catchy slogan or drop quote, we do remember it and furthermore are very happy to quote it back to you.

One example is “Family First” put out by a Telco years ago which is still echoed from time to time although not in its original context. 

Another is “(Insert word) is everyone’s responsibility”. This is used for pretty much everything but particularly in cases where Government has not been  successful. Then of course it is deemed to be a shared failure with the people and so the Government can breathe a sigh of relief and let itself off the hook.

Another not-so-successful drop quote which has thankfully disappeared from posters around town was the very odd, “Say NO to rape”. While we have been unable to pin down who actually came up with that marketing statement, most women were either confused or insulted or in some cases, both. It seemed that they would perhaps have been happier if it had read, the more pointed, “Men shouldn’t rape” or similar.  

A particularly popular and easily remembered example was the “Water is Life” slogan which we were bombarded with on T.V. and in leaflets and stickers. It was put out of course by the Samoa Water Authority with appropriate graphics and was further expanded with reasons as to why this was so. 

Ownership of this catchy little phrase, ‘Water is Life’ has been repeated over and over by our people who have been interviewed in our Village Voice feature of four stories each day.

These are our people, who for a number of reasons, do not have access to a regular water supply and whose lives are impacted because of this lack. 

However from the front page news story quoting the Managing Director of the S.W.A. Seugamaali’i Jammie Saena, it has been interesting to learn that most, but not all fault lies with her organization.

She said that 85 per cent of Samoa’s population is under the government water scheme which means their water system is provided under the S.W.A.

“The other 15 per cent is either under the independent schemes or their own scheme,” she said.

In that case, she confirmed water systems that run under independent or family initiatives don’t come under their watch.

 “If independent, then that belongs to the Ali’i and Faipule of districts.”

She also concedes that setting up systems and keeping people connected is not cheap and admits that progress in doing this depends on those often used words “overseas funds.”

She also urges us all to pay our water charges which helps keep the operations ticking over and in that she is absolutely right.

But one question still nags when we are talking about the basics of life in Samoa.

If ‘Water is Life’ as we are so frequently told, why is our Government not facing this basic problem of so many of our people not having water?  

And maybe with the same zeal and financial resources they allocate to say funding Manu Samoa, Lupesoliai Joseph Parker and other projects.     

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