Wells are jewels to Islanders - Solomon Star News

Wells are jewels to Islanders

09 July 2016

WHILE some people enjoy fresh drinking water from taps at their doorsteps, people in many parts of the country see wells as jewels – precious in ensuring survival.

Imagine the most remote small Islands that have no fresh water. The only source of fresh water for drinking, cooking and washing is from dug-out wells.

But climate change is also threatening this system as sea water started invading inland areas insalinating dug-out wells at times.

It is not easy, but for people living on a remote Island of Pileni in Temotu Province, it has been a practise as there are no other alternatives.

“You have to get use to this life, it may seem difficult for some, but for us, this is life,” Lonsdale Taputa told the Solomon Star during a recent visit to the Island.

The Island has been inhabited by Polynesians for centuries now.

“Our ancestors come to this Island many years ago.

“Since our great grannies came here, they dug up some wells and some of the wells are still being used by us nowadays.

“It is very normal for us now. We depend on two main wells. These are very old wells.

“Since childhood, I remember drawing water from these wells and they are still the main source of fresh water for people on the Island.”

He said because of scarcity of fresh water on the Island, only drinking and cooking are prioritized.

“We draw water from the wells for drinking and cooking, but people can wash and swim in the sea.”

This practise has slowly been reduced and improvements arrived.

“Our cries have been heard and there’s a project in place to improve our fresh water ordeal

“World Vision and others have supplied water tanks mainly for storing clean water for drinking.

“This is due to climate change which is a threat to our remaining drinking wells as salinity starts to invade our water holes.

“People are very happy that water tanks are alleviating our biggest problem, but water tanks depend on rain.

“When it’s dry for a long period, we can still depend on the wells. So in fact, while we appreciate water tanks, our wells are still useful to us.

“The water tanks cannot sustain the population of Island for a longer dry period.”

As such, he said they will continue to stick to their old fashion of getting water for drinking from wells.

“Therefore, if the government or any organization for that matter wanted to find a lasting solution or make it more efficient for us, they can provide need equipments and materials to supply water from the wells.

Director of Ministry of Health and Environment Tom Nanau who was on the ground that time urged the communities in Islands of Reef Islands to maintain and improve their water wells.

This is to sustain them during dry seasons.

 “I want you people especially in Pileni, Matema and other islands to maintain your well sources as you know that your tanks will only useful during rainy times,” Mr Nanau said.

“Clean your wells and improve them so that you can get clean drinking water from them as usual when needed.”

Mr Taputa said it is with sheer luck that they do not get diseases from drinking unsafe water from the wells.

“We will continue to seek assistance and cooperate with the government or any organisation that want to help improve our living.”