Lost water ongoing supply challenge

The loss of water continues to present a major challenge to the health of the nation's water supply industry, a new analysis has found. 

The water losses are referred to as unaccounted water including leakages through aging networks, overflows, authorised unbilled consumption and illegal connections.

The report was recently issued this week by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics.  

The Samoa Water Account report for the financial year 2018-2019 presents information on the physical and monetary supply and use of water in Samoa. 

This is the fifth edition of the Samoa’s water accounts and it provides the highlights of water statistics, aggregates and indicators with comparison to the previous years.

This account compilation closely followed the 2012 United Nation System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Central Framework guidelines and principles.

According to the report, it states that water losses have declined from 13,772 ML in 2017-18 to 12,394 ML in 2018-2019. 

“The decline, according to the water suppliers, was due to the increase in metered connections and the upgrading of old leaking systems,” read the report.

It also revealed that continuous public awareness programmes to all levels of customers especially the village communities also contributed to the decline effort in water losses.

“An estimated total of 163,005 ML of water was abstracted from the environment into Samoa’s economy in 2018-19, an increase of about 30.0 per cent or 48,860 ML of water when compared to 2017-18.

“The electricity industry is the main contributor which accounted for 79.8 per cent of total water abstracted or 130,060 ML.

“Surface water remains the main water type for abstracted water throughout the financial years. For 2018-19, it accounted for approximately 155,600 ML (95.5 per cent) of total water abstraction. Groundwater accounted for 7,100 ML (4.4 per cent) and the rest was rainwater harvesting at about 300 ML.”

Furthermore, electricity has 79.8 percent of 130,060 ML of total abstraction was self-abstracted water by the electricity industry for hydro power and the vast majority of this water is returned back to the environment.

However, for distribution: 17.7 per cent or about 28,800 ML of water was abstracted by the water supply industry mainly for distribution. 

“Coverage of financial information is still limited to distributed water use. More than 82 per cent of distributed water use comes from metered water; the monetary estimates are considered reliable but should still be interpreted with caution.  

“Out of 16,400 ML of total distributed water use, about 82.4 per cent or 13,500 ML is metered water with the rest, 17.6 per cent or 2,877 ML is unmetered water use.

“An estimated SAT $20.8 million were paid by users for distributed water use, accounting for 97.5 per cent of total payments for distributed water of about SAT $21.4 million in 2018-19. 

“Unmetered distributed water use makes up the remaining 2.5 per cent or $0.6 million of total payment during the reference period.” 

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