Water supplier still face uphill compliance battle

A majority of Independent Water Schemes (I.W.S.) were not fully compliant with national drinking water standards, according to the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development.

In its latest annual report for 2018–2019, the M.W.C.S.D reports just three of I.W.S. out of 16 were fully compliant while the rest were just “partially” compliant. 

But the Ministry reports the I.W.S continue to collaborate to improve water quality across the country by installing filters in schools and homes, and drafting Drinking Water Safety Plans for four villages.

The I.W.S. Association (I.W.S.A.), through funding from Canada Aid, bought 31 ultra violet filters to install in Government schools they service. 

According to the report, installation work is “currently in progress.”

Salailua, Eva, Luatuanuu and Lelea have drafted editions of a Drinking Water Safety Plan, and the I.W.S.A. ran awareness programmes on the plans themselves.

In order to develop and extend the programme, the Civil Society Support Programme was approached for more funding. 

“There have been challenges in the implementation of the I.W.S. program over the past years including the reported financial year,” the annual report continues.

“The main constraint is always the long process in finalizing of the tender documents and contracts due to the absence of a Ministry Legal Officer.”

The Ministry also bought water quality meters for monitoring of communities’ water supply and water quality test kits to monitor household water filters and “to make sure sustainability and high maintenance of filters.”

Eva and Nuusuatia’s I.W.S. systems were fully upgraded in the 2018–2019 financial year. These systems service around 1,700 people between Eva, Salelesi, Nuusuatia and Vaie’e. 

In early 2019, the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) concluded that majority of samples taken from water sourced from IWS did not meet national drinking water standards.

Water in Samoa should have zero counts of bacteria, but that is not always the case with the I.W.S. supply.

The M.O.H. warned that at the standard the water supply is at, the rainy season poses an even bigger risk to water quality and sanitation.

In early 2020 the I.W.S.A. issued a public warning to its consumers to boil water before consuming as the cyclone season set it.

A total of 15 per cent of Samoa’s water access is provided under I.W.S. from Upolu and Savaii. Many of the schemes are run and managed by villages but 55 are registered under the I.W.S.A.  

Independently supplied water is typically not treated. 

The I.W.S.A. is a non-profit organisation under the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development that aims to ensure reliable and sustainable access to clean, safe, and affordable water.

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