SOLOMON Water will need US$4.6million (SBD$31.3m) to improve water supply in all provincial capitals in the country within the next five years.
This was revealed by Solomon Water general manager Ian Gooden during Solomon Water’s 30 Year Strategic Plan Meeting at Honiara Hotel, Friday.
Mr Gooden told government officials and the media that provincial capitals in the country are facing water shortage due to their growing urban population.
“Urban centres around the country continue to experience population growth and access to safe and clean water is a major problem faced by many Solomon Islanders,” Mr Gooden said.
According to Mr Gooden residents in Noro and Gizo, Western Province continue to face water issues.
“We got water issues with water supplies in our provinces.
“In Noro we pump 24 hours a day and we are not meeting demand so we need to find more water in Noro right now.
“What is happening in Gizo, they got a lovely plant that was built in 2012 by New Zealanders and it was stopped in 2014 and hasn’t produced water for two years.
“The plant does not have water coming in and all of Gizo rely on water tanks and some streams beside the surrounding communities,” he said.
Mr Gooden said his management team had already met with the Western Provincial Government and they are aware of Solomon Water’s intention to help the province.
“We also talk to Western Province premier and at the moment they are comfortable with the concept for us to take over water in Gizo.
“But before we can get there, they want us to get some donor funding and some engineers to do the work.
“They got 800 to 900 customers we can easily take on another 10,000 customers without same system,” he added.
Mr Gooden said a long term solution for Gizo water problem is for Gizo to have a desalination plant.
However, he said a cheaper and best solution would be to use the proposed dam on Kolombangara Island.
“We could make a dam on Kolombangara and take the water under the harbour and pull it up to Gizo.
“It is a cheaper solution because desalination is quite expensive to run,” Mr Gooden said.
Apart from Gizo, residents in Auki will face water problems as its population increases in future.
“In Auki we can produce more water today but Auki is growing very quickly as well.
“Right now we have got a design underway with designing of a new pump station behind the Solomon Power.
“We will build a new pump station and that will actually help us get more water there,” he said.
Mr Gooden said Solomon Water will continue to replace pipes in Auki and this will help stop the leakage and also stop people stealing water.
Meanwhile, in Honiara Mr Gooden said plans are in place to build a new water source at Lunga to service the growing population in East Honiara.
“This is because most of the water in Honiara is distributed from sources on the western side of the capital,” he said.
According to Solomon Water 30 Year Strategic Plan, the projected population increase over the next 30 years will have a significant impact on current water supply in the country.
By SIMON ABANA