BY KHAMA LINCOLN
Gizo Based Isles Media Freelance Reporter
AS THE WESTERN PROVINCE’S Headquarters GIZO Town is still without proper water supply for residents years before the 2007 Tsunami, most of the people depends only on rainfalls throughout the months and years to fill up their tanks.
However, rainwater is still unsustainable for Gizo town residents when a longer period without enough rainfall occurs. Two of the residents who are making an effort to mitigate that water availability issue in their community is Dick and John, residing in Tisi coastal area.
These men would install tanks to improve the need of accessing sufficient water supply for the various uses, but that they see as not enough for their families, relatives as well as urban populace. So, what they did is simple but smart.
Dick and John don’t sit and complain about the limited access to clean water and the unavailability of a water supply system in the town. They took their digging tools and dug out a shallow well from a waterlogged soil at the neighborhood shoreline.
Oldman Dick said, their story started when he walked on the beach one day, and as he reached John’s area, he saw freshwater escaping from a sub-mudslide at the bottom of a cliff several meters away from John’s house situated at the top.
So, he consulted John and they both agreed to dig for the water source and construct a well.
“I said to John, let’s dig this water,” Dick said. “So, we took a bar, spade, and knife and started with a little digging to find out where the water comes from.”
“After we saw the source we continue digging and reached four feet down, there we saw the water flowing stronger, we don’t stop there, we dig again until we reached six feet and that’s where we get more pressure from the source.”
“After that, we dug out the sidewalls and created the bigger rectangular well, and add gravel on top of it to prevent dirt from entering the water pool.” Later we drained out the water and slab the sidewalls and the outlet with cement. “Now people are interested in our water and they’re using it days and nights,” Dick said.
Dick said, they’re not finished with their home construction, as they’re planning of making more improvements like slabbing all the walls and the floor to create a typical pool or a kind of its own in the coastline environment.
“We need money to buy more cement and complete our work.”
“Another plan we have is to build a roof over the pool to keep the water clean, he explains. “The house will also have a sitting area for users to relax while using the water,” He said.
In spite of their struggle to make more water available in the community, Dick revealed that they also met opposition relating to land ownership as well as ridicule from people.
“They accused us, because of land”, and people said,” ‘what are you doing? you’re out of your minds, that water will dry up.’ Dick smiled.” Now people are using the water and said, this is nice water. “
The elderly father and grandfather said that the water never dries up during dry seasons without rainfalls, describing it as “live water.”
He said John and himself struggle to make water available seeing that Gizo town has insufficient water supply systems.
Dick said, their idea is that, while using the well for washing and bath, tank water is preserved only for drinking.
He said, they will continue to develop the water source and also will be charging a fee for people who want to use the facility when construction is complete.
“That fee will be for our hard work.” The elderly father said.