Solomon Water emerges from the dark days, says general manager - Solomon Star News

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Solomon Water emerges from the dark days, says general manager

04 September 2014

SOLOMON Water is emerging from its dark days, cleared its huge debts, and now operating profitably.

General Manager Richard Austin revealed this on Wednesday when Solomon Water took delivery of the $150 million water supply improvement project for Honiara and Auki, from the Japanese Government.

Mr Austin said the organisation’s current financial situation is stable but delicate.

Its audited accounts show:

·        2010 – $13.14m loss

·        2011 – $22.9m loss

·        2012 – $9.86m profit

·        2013 – $11.12m profit

·        2014 – $10m forecast profit

Mr Austin said their modest profits are being reinvested into the organisation.

“The long haul out of the darkness of 2010/11 when SIWA (Solomon Water was called then) could not pay its bills and could not deliver water has been tough,” he said.

“We are emerging from those dark days and we are building the foundations for a modern and effective water supply company.

“We are still financially fragile and we have a long way to go to get our systems modernised and our service standards to the high levels that we want,” he added.

Mr Austin thanked Japan and Australia for their financial assistances, which helped turned their financial situation around.

Meanwhile, he said in order for Solomon Water to be financially viable it is important that its customers and organisations pay on time and in full for their water.

“Over the past months we have made great efforts to recover long-outstanding debt and persuade our customers to pay on time.

“Unfortunately, our biggest problem has arisen in getting government departments and ministries to pay,” he said.

He cited the state-run King George Sixth School, which incurred huge unpaid water bills, forcing Solomon Water to disconnect their supply recently.

“We do not like to cut the water supply to schools but what else can we do if we cannot receive payment?

“We ask that if organisations tell us that water is essential to their functioning, then their management gives the paying of water bills top priority.

“We cannot be a charity and we cannot provide endless credit facilities to these customers.

“They cannot just keep repeating the same sob-story to us.

“We need their commitment to pay. We need to survive financially and we do not depend on any government financial support.

“We ask that the government ministries support us in our endeavours to get paid on time for our services.

“In the case of King George VI, we are working with the school to reduce their water consumption and thus lower their bills,” Mr Austin said.

Solomon Water is one of the country’s state-owned enterprises