BY JOHN HOUANIHAU IN MALAITA
SINCE their supply of clean drinking water was exhausted eight years ago, the people of Pipisu village in West Are’are, Malaita province including women, youth, and children, have been forced to walk great distances in order to obtain it.
Since the original water supply was constructed in 1978 and then upgraded in 2008, there haven’t been any noteworthy attempts to improve the situation, according to village elder and community member Dominic Hou, who spoke exclusively with ENVIRONMENT MEDIA at the village.
Although the community was initially happy with these developments, since 2016 the supply has sadly been decreasing.
The first water supply, according to Hou, cost $5,000 in SBD money at first.
“But following an evaluation and upgrade in 2008, the price went up to $70,000. There was no contribution from either current or former Members of Parliament; instead, the funding and support for both water supplies came from two volunteers. These are important things to think about,” he said.
“Due to persistent problems with the water supply, a lot of people currently rely on water from tanks or streams. Salinity and turbidity frequently degrade drinking water quality, which discourages people from using it,” he said.
Dominic said that a committee was established last year to address the problem of enhancing the water supply.
“But as of right now,” Dominic said, “no progress has been made.”
He mentioned that he was selected as the secretary following discussion of the issue, but that the person in charge of conferring with the group in Honiara has not followed up.
“The burden of traveling long distances for clean drinking water falls on women and has been ongoing for quite some time now,” he said.